(& Catering Service)
7940 Torresdale Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19136
Al's is one of those neighborhood places that everyone knows about, as long as they live or work in that neighborhood.
They offer a full service deli with approximately three thousand sandwich varieties, as well as a virtual smorgasbord of pre-made packaged goods. Scroll down to experience the plethora of offerings.
Here's one of my favorites, the singularly packaged "deli item."
I decided to try one Italian (Sicilian Italiano) hoagie, and one of their famous corned beef specials. The first thing I noticed is the price. A definite bonus of heading to the outskirts, or the suburbs, is the significant drop in the price of hoagies. The Italian was $6 (and it was the upgraded gourmet version), and the corned beef was $4.50. Not too bad at all. I also couldn't decide between creamy potato salad or old fashioned German potato salad. So I tried both, for around $2 a piece.
The hoagie had all of the usual suspects, capicolla, sopressata, prosciutto, coteghino, genoa salami, plus roasted peppers and one of my favorites, shredded sharp provolone. I asked for it with the works, and that included onions, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, and pickles. I also got oil and mayo, just to complete the circle.
The meat-to-veggie ratio was a bit disappointing, but the shredded sharp prov lent a nice, biting earthy flavor. Also, the onions were really piled on, which was overkill.
In all, it's not a bad Italian, but with so many options in the Great Northeast, I would not go out of my way for it.
The corned beef special fared better, served on un-toasted Jewish rye, with slaw, Russian dressing, and Jewish pickle chunks. A clean-eating sandwich it was not. But the sloppiness was delicious, and the meat was mighty tasty.
I was also surprisingly pleased with the chunks of pickle mixed throughout. A nice touch, with some vinegary crunch underneath all that creamy slaw.
The creamy potato salad was excellent. Exactly what it should be, tangy, creamy, and riddled with crispy celery, bits of crunchy bacon and plenty of pepper.
However, the old fashioned German style potato salad was my favorite eating of the day. With a mustardy, bacony, vinegar-kissed flavor combination, I was hooked. It had been some time since I have had this style of salad, and it was sorely missed.
Al's is a great little neighborhood gem that you would be lucky to stumble into if you were floating around the neighborhood. I am pretty sure ANYONE could find something they liked there, and not pay too much while doing so.