1098 West Bridge Street
Phoenixville, PA 19460-2370
Any place that can stay open since the 1930's (serving Phoenixville since 1934) must be doing something right. Even if some of them are entirely overrated. Foresta's is the kind of family-owned market that that makes you wish you lived next door. Quaint, reasonably priced, and with fantastic customer service (aka attitude), this is a throwback to times when things were just plain better.
Now I hadn't been here in decades, but my fond memories of summers spent working at the local skatepark and spending an hour's pay for a lunch that left me rolling on the ground in pleasure/agony were quite strong. They were not wrong. Taking the stroll down memory lane out of the equation, this was still one of the best hoagies I have had in 2015. That made me happy.
The deli is nothing to write home about visually, but it is packed with homemade goods that are a combo of Italian and Pennsylvania Dutch, each with their own comfort food specialties and followings.
The bread was from Amoroso's, which initially caused me to scoff. They have long been the gold standard for Philadelphia area sandwiches, though in recent years have yielded the throne to competition like Aversa's and Liscio's which have that crusty outside that makes a sandwich stand up to the wet ingredients. Lo and behold, you pick your own roll at Foresta's, and I was directed by the wonderful girl working the counter to the bottom row, second from the left. Amoroso's makes a crusty roll I never knew about. Fantastic.
My take from this haul. An Italian hoagie with sharp prov on a CRUSTY Amoroso roll. Pepperoni bread, and Italian mother lickin' hoagie dip. The hoagie dip alone would warrant a five cheesesteak rating. With the other pieces, this was bound for glory.
The Italian was perfectly balanced. They shave the onions, freshly slice the meats, and did not skimp on the sharp provolone. I am not joking nor embellishing when I tell you this is the perfect Italian hoagie. They even used hoagie spread instead of beat old banana peppers or cherry peppers with stems.
The roll held up perfectly, and dare I say, was every bit as good as my current favorites, if not better.
I also got mayo without so much as a wince. Because mayo and salty meat go hand in hand. Look at the construction of this thing. You will not find a better hoagie. Parallel, possibly, but you can't improve on perfection. It's the thing fat kid dreams are made of.
If the Italian wasn't enough for you, the Italian hoagie dip had all of the components, just minced together. The addition of the hot pepper relish gave this some acidity and spice, and the result was a flavor orgy on your tongue. I ate this whole container within a couple hours' of eating the hoagie, but that can be our little secret.
Finally, for dessert, I had a healthy serving of pepperoni bread. Look at the cheese vein running through this roll. Pepperoni worked its way through every fold, and the cheese spanned the width. Airy, well baked, and full of ingredients, you could do much worse for $5.59.
Foresta's reminds you just how much you lose in today's age of extra large super markets and automated everything. They have an incredible butcher, a great little grocery store, and a deli to make you forget all about that "diet" you were pretending to hang on to.