Saturday, May 31, 2008

Michael's Italian Kitchen ~ Irving, Texas

I first ran into Michael's while working at Big Software Company You've Actually Heard Of, as it was relatively close, and a few of us decided to try all the restaurants in the area (gee, I wonder who the ringleader of that initiative was?). Today, Michael's is still a place I drop by once in awhile, as it's conveniently located halfway between NE Tarrant and the Northern Dallas suburbs. On this occasion, I met a new business contact coming in from Frisco. Michael's is perfect for that: Small, not overly crowded, relatively quiet to carry a conversation, and nicely decorated.

And, of course, the food is quite good. They focus on the basics, and all of your favorite pastas, veal, chicken and seafood dishes are represented as well as subs and pizza. Their red sauce is light and flavorful. I would also recommend their Italian sausage, which seems to be homemade (I don't know for sure). Another favorite, chicken parmigiana, is also recommended. I've taken Mrs. RJG once, and she enjoyed as well. We intended to visit friends from Dallas for dinner one night, but didn't realize at the time it was BYOB and ended up somewhere else (my prior visits were business lunches that required Mr. RJG to be sober). So file that away, as we're big fans of bringing our own wine! As mentioned in prior posts, most of the Italian restaurants in the area are owned by Albanians / Yugoslavians and I presume Michael's is as well. The menu is similar and the house dressing is a tomato based vinaigrette (though lighter than most). They've been around longer than most, claiming a heritage that goes back to 1981. I don't know where they started, as this location is certainly from the 90s or even later.

Michael's is located north of LBJ (I-635) on MacArthur. There is no town called Valley Ranch, just as there is no official city known as Las Colinas. Both are officially in Irving. However when you're this far north in "Irving", south of I-635 is known as Las Colinas and north as Valley Ranch. And for you out of towners reading this (as if), Valley Ranch is most known as the Dallas Cowboys practice area / headquarters.

Good place - and the best Italian restaurant I've tried in the long barren (and very Corporate) stretch on I-635 from I-35E to DFW airport.


Michael's Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 30, 2008

*** MOVED *** Cousin's Bar-B-Q ~ Keller, Texas

October 2010 update: The Keller location is now closed.They reopened a much larger location at the Alliance shopping district in far north Ft. Worth. Review here.

We haven't covered any barbecue to date, and that's one type of food where the independents thrive in the DFW area. I'm probably not the world's biggest BBQ fan, mainly due to the inconsistencies in the different types of sauces. See, Mr. RJG is not a fan of sweet food, except for dessert of course. I like my sauces spicy, and as mentioned many times before, the hotter the better.

I saw an interesting special on the Food Channel about the different kinds of barbecue around the nation (or it may have even been the Travel Channel - no couldn't be, they only show poker anymore :-P). It was a contest, as in who has the best, judged by a panel of BBQ connoisseurs. The challengers were Kansas City, Memphis, Texas and North Carolina. Despite my Texan heritage, I have tended to gravitate towards the Memphis style, as they typically feature sauces focused on spice rather than sweet. Of course, I'm talking generalities here - don't want anyone getting all upset now. Honestly, I don't think there is a standard Texan barbecue flavor - we seem to be the most disparate of the bunch. I don't think I've ever had "North Carolinan" barbecue, or at least something with that name, but based on the description in the show, it definitely didn't sound like my cup of pulled pork if you know what I mean. Funny, I don't even remember who won... I want to say Memphis did. For more info on the different variations of BBQ around America, this is a pretty good synopsis:

All this just to say: Cousin's is awesome! Their regular barbecue sauce is thick, with a great smoky flavor, not sweet at all. They also offer a very spicy thin sauce, similar to a Cajun concoction. I find mixing the two together creates a sublime experience. As for the meats, they're all slow cooked, and I love every one of them: Beef brisket, chopped brisket, turkey, ham, German sausage, etc... For many folks, the sides are just as important as the BBQ itself. But not for Mr. RJG, who suddenly goes Atkins diet at these places (well, I do partake in breaking bread). Most sides are too heavy in the starch department for me, and seem like a quick way to wider waistline. Still, if they have corn on the cob or dirty rice, I tend to order plates... Cousin's doesn't have the latter, so I tend to stick to sandwiches or meats only. And you know what? Fine with me! And while Mrs. RJG is not a huge fan of meat only dishes, she's OK with it when talking Cousin's. Since Mrs. RJG looks like a fashion model, she won't go near the sides either...

Cousin's is a local chain, with 4 Tarrant county locations plus 2 at DFW Airport. NE Tarrant gets the Keller location, and from what I can tell, it's the only one that is takeout only (maybe the DFW locations are too - funny for all the travel I do, I hadn't seen them - ah, I see now, Terminal B and D are not my usual departure areas). The Keller location is in a little old "shotgun" style building off of Keller Parkway not too far east from US 377. Mr. RJH always likes to see the word "Commissary" when local chains branch out - as it really underscores the notion that local chains tend to be extensions of an independent original.

For me, Cousin's is the best barbecue I've had in DFW. To be fair, I haven't tried a fraction of the places, but of the handful I have, Cousin's is the best.

While on the topic of BBQ, this allows me an opportunity to shine a light on a great blog called Fort Worth Hole in the Wall. I have a link to the side. I came across this site in March, and reading his quick wit and similar outlook towards independents, I decided it was time to get off my butt and start this blog - about 2 years after I intended to... He's done a nice overview of many of the Ft. Worth BBQ places. Read here: Looks like Cousin's didn't score as well as it did for me. Though I've never been to the Ft. Worth location - but I think it's the original.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Humperdink's ~ Dallas, Texas

I first ran into Humperdink's at their Addison location in the early 1990s. They're still in Addison, but they've since moved to the south side of Belt Line. It wasn't far from where I worked in those days, and it became somewhat of a "guys at work hangout". We'd have lunch, or draft players for fantasy football or baseball there - that kind of thing. At that time, Humperdink's called itself a sports bar, and they still very much have that look and feel. But during the time that we lived in Colorado, they made a key switch to calling themselves a brewery as well. Mr. RJG thinks that's a great move, as local breweries appeals to me greatly. Perhaps I got spoiled in Colorado, as brewpubs are far more active there than here in DFW (2013 note - and we're finally starting to catch up!).

Humperdink's is a local chain and they currently have 4 locations, 3 in Dallas county and one in Tarrant (Arlington). The one reviewed here is their NW Highway location. Humperdink's lies in a sea of Publicly Traded and Corporate restaurant chains, known locally as "restaurant row". The original "restaurnt row" was on Walnut Hill and I-35E (Stemmons Fwy), near the old Don Carter's West bowling alley. That area was hopping in the late 1970s and 1980s, but the area was restricted land wise (not to mention the ridiculous Prohibition era "dry laws" that still pervade in Texas. Everything north of Walnut Hill is still "dry" - in 2008! (and 2013!)), thus limiting growth, and most of the corporate tenants moved out to this newer location near where Loop 12 and Stemmons branch apart. Humperdink's is one of the few non-corporate chains in the area. If coming from the west / Las Colinas, you'll encounter quite the colorful drive, with all the strip clubs / bars / adult themed places / liquor stores that once resided on Harry Hines (US 77), but have now been banished to this non-descript section of town. The city of Dallas did this on purpose in the 1990s, since were no residential areas here, and the area could be self-contained.

On this occasion, former employee from down Austin way, Mr. KC, was in town training at Big Software Company You've Actually Heard Of, that Mr. RJG no longer works at. And what better way to reunite with old colleagues than over a few brews while watching the Stars get clobbered by the Red Wings.

While the brewpub/brewery concept is much welcomed, and the beer is definitely good (not great), their menu isn't... that is to say, it's way too big, and there's no specialty of the house. It's what we said in the Novrozky's post, it's never a good idea to try to appeal to everyone. So while their food is uniformly good, none of it is distinctive. They have good burgers, barbecue, chicken sandwiches. They have every appetizer that every chain has. I had their sliders this time, which isn't an everyday menu item. Certainly better than White Castle, for what it is, though I think I'd rather go to a White Castle (strange as that may sound). Mr. KC goes for the ribs typically, and gave a thumbs up. Since Mr. KC has taken a shine to Humperdinks, there's a good chance Mr. RJG will visit more than he normally would. And I'm good with that. And given the nearby competition, Humperdink's is about the only restaurant in the area that can claim DFW as its only home.


Humperdink's Texas on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jersey Mike's ~ Irving, Texas ; Southlake, Texas

New review for the Keller location

The RJG first ran into the name Jersey Mike's from an obscure lonely Dallas location not far from where I grew up in Northwest Dallas, in the Tom Thumb shopping center on Forest Lane near Marsh. It was a favorite place to have lunch with Dad. In those days lunch with Dad meant we had a choice of going to a sub sandwich place - or - going to a sub sandwich place. "I have an idea, Dad - let's go to sub place!", "OK - either Great Outdoors or Jersey Mike's" he'd generously offer as my two choices. And so we did just that on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure it was in the 1987-1989 timeframe, as Mr. RJG was just getting his career started. They closed not long after they opened and I never heard the name again for many years. In fact, I thought they were a little independent at the time. They didn't have locations in Colorado through 2002 (they do now), and I didn't hear the name again until we moved back in 2003 and they had opened their "first ever DFW location" on Greenville Avenue. Apparently the Dallas Warning News also forgot about the NW Dallas location. Am I the only one who remembers it? Maybe it was all a dream - seems to be the thing to do in Dallas (esoteric TV reference).

I'm guessing not long after, they opened the 2nd DFW location in Las Colinas (on MacArthur just north of 114), which was perfect as I had one of 'dem nice offices in one of 'dem big buildings in Las Colinas. So it became a regular once a week routine, reminding me fondly of my much missed Dad. The RJG no longer works for Big Software Company You've Actually Heard Of, and now works for Big Telecom Company Everyone Has Heard Of. Except now I work exclusively from home here in NE Tarrant, so going to Las Colinas is pretty rare anymore.

As an aside, Mrs. RJG says that Jersey Mike's is her favorite sub sandwich place as well (note that down ladies, as Mrs. RJG has decidedly feminine tastes).

The problem with any corporate chain, is that you can't count on one location being as great as another, but I can say the Las Colinas and Southlake locations are uniformly good. The managers are usually there, and they do a great job of cutting the meat at the slicer, and assembling with the usual fresh toppings. One thing the RJG likes about Jersey Mike's is the heavy use of Italian meats (Cappacuolo, Proscuittini along with the usuals like salami and pepperoni) thus separating them from the national competition.

March 2010 update: I wanted to call out what I said here from the original post, as it was definitely prophetic: "As I said in the C and A Italian Family Deli post, finding a good sandwich in NE Tarrant is pretty tough, so if I was RegularJoeFranchise, I'd give serious thought to opening one in Southlake, Keller, Colleyville or North Richland Hills." And indeed it came to pass that Jersey Mike's opened in Southlake not long after.

January 2013 update: Jersey Mike's no longer offer Tasty Kake's. Apparently the owner of Tasty Kake's will only deliver to large concerns (like grocery stores) rather than individual restaurants. That's a bummer! But the good news is you can now get them at Kroger, so it definitely takes away the need to have them at Jersey Mike's.

January 2014 update: Jersey Mike's continues to be the RJG's #1 go-to place for submarine sandwiches. Inexplicably they opened another location only a couple of miles east, also in Southlake and on Southlake boulevard! They could have opened in Keller, NRH, or Grapevine! It seems they are eating their young this way. Oh well, I hope they know what they're doing. I'm sticking with the location listed at the bottom, as that one was is still closer to Casa RJG.

Jersey Mike's Subs on Urbanspoon

Jersey Mike's Subs on Urbanspoon

Last update: June 20, 2015

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In-N-Out Burger ~ Prescott, Arizona

DFW area In-N-Out review here

In both the Editorial Chains thread and the Johnny B's blurb, I mentioned In-N-Out Burger (INOB) as a favorite place to go when traveling to the left coast.

For the Memorial Day weekend, Mrs. RJG and I visited some of her relatives in Arizona. Given that it was a family visit, the majority of our meals were centered around family cookouts, and we were treated royally at that! But we did get away for one afternoon, and settled on INOB for our lunch. Naturally it's always fun to try other places while traveling, but it wasn't in the cards for this trip. This particular visit was to their Prescott store. We also visited one in Anaheim, CA about two months ago (and I still need to get some of the other restaurants up from that visit).

There's not much to add from what I've already stated in the Editorial Chains section. But I'll copy here for convenience: Regional chains are cool. They typically represent an area's culture via a unique food type, or a destination defining place. An example of the latter, and perhaps the best example of a large regional chain, is In-N-Out Burger (INOB). When Mr. RJG goes to California, Arizona or Nevada on business, he makes a sincere attempt to eat at INOB at least once per visit. They are what I wish Wendy's, McDonalds and Burger King would have become. Mr. RJG once worked for a company based in Pleasanton, California. Like many Bay Area suburbs, INOB was well entrenched there for many years. Yet, no matter what time I had arrived, there was a line around the building! This is an area defined by chef-driven, high end restaurants. Where mom and pops struggle to survive, and most homes clear the million dollar mark. And yet INOB has a huge line - always. Taco Bell and Arby's do not, I assure you. Why? Because it's damn good. Only the freshest ingredients are served. The menu is perfect: You can get variations on a hamburger, soft drinks and milkshakes. That's it! The kids that work there at INOB are a blast through a time tunnel some 40 years ago. Always smiling, and fresh faced. Everybody who works there wants to work there - and there's competition for those jobs. Why? Because they pay more and will also contribute to their college education. Think you could pull that off at a public company? I don't think so! I once asked my brother-in-law, who is in the restaurant industry, why he didn't franchise a location in Denver? When they opened the first Krispy Kreme in Denver, they had to get the police out to direct traffic for nearly a month. A Krispy Kreme for crying out loud! Can you imagine an In-N-Out Burger? He'd be rich in a week. His answer came within 2 seconds of my question "They don't franchise". And he added that everyone wants to open an INOB, for all the reasons I just stated. It appears they are perfectly content to grow at a snails pace, while providing an outstanding fast food experience. They are my heroes.

I had my usual Double-Double and a shake. Mrs. RJG had a cheeseburger and fries - and a shake (she's still mad at me for the idea!)


In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 23, 2008

Avila's ~ Dallas, Texas

Favorite son Ricardo Avila has now left to open his own restaurant called, appropriately enough, Ricardo Avila's Mextopia. We'll be sure to try it soon! Avila's has become all the rage since Guy Fiori featured the little place on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives - a favorite show of the RJG as well. This lead to a lot of business for Avila's, and thus they made some changes to the restaurant itself. The good: They opened the fence next door which allows for much more, and easier, parking. They also now have some outdoor patio seating (nothing more than a couple of park benches, but it's still cool). On the down side, they changed the dark red painting to a lighter blue shade. It doesn't feel as intimate as before. And, as with any place that gains notoriety, the neighborhood feel of the place has deteriorated somewhat. There's more of a wannabee yuppie thing going on. "Slumming on Maple with the Wilson's" just ain't for the RJG. I felt the food quality held serve (and on this night the salsa with the chips was really kickin'!), but Mrs. RJG said it was greasier than prior. I sensed our dinner companions, once again Mr. and Mrs. RP as we haven't seen them in about a year, were also slightly disappointed. I think as the DDD effect wears off, things will return to normal. And it will be easier to park in any event....

Original review

Avila's is a long time RJG favorite. I first discovered the restaurant while taking a training course close by at the InfoMart. This was in 1989 (three years after opening), when most of the restaurants in the area catered to the Tex-Mex crowd. And most of the classic restaurants remain: Rosita's, the original Ojeda's, and the original Herrera's (different location though). Today the area is much more hardcore Mexican and many of the newer restaurants appeal more to the taste of the old country. Avila's is located in the old Little Mexico area, on Maple, just north of Wycliff.

On this occasion, Mrs. RJG and I joined some dear and longtime friends Mr. and Mrs. RP. They had surprisingly never been and we decided to make an evening of it. Mrs. RJG has named this her favorite Mexican restaurant in Dallas, and it's a mandatory stop prior to going to any Dallas Mavericks basketball game. Given the distance from where we reside in NE Tarrant, it's always a treat for us to dine here.

Avila's is the perfect setting - situated in an old house, where you can park in back or on the old front lawn. The restaurant is painted dark, and has mood spotlights. Sometimes there's an old man who soothes the sole with some fine acoustic guitar in the Mexican/Spanish style. The opposite of the loud obnoxious Mariachi bands. One could see the temptation for the owner to pipe in techno/electronica, as it has that super cool European / New York City feel. Thankfully he doesn't and the guitar player couldn't be better.

One thing that hasn't changed: The food. It's classic Tex-Mex, but prepared extremely well. Variations of tacos, enchiladas, etc... plus some feature dishes. The hot sauce doesn't pull punches, and you all know by now that Mr. RJG likes that! There are only a few places in the US where Mr. RJG can say the Mexican food is truly better than Avila's. Mr. RP said the mole was the best he's had. And Mr. RP is one of the few people I know who's traveled more than myself.

For you folks, like us, who live in NE Tarrant - make it a destination some evening. It's never overly crowded, but never empty either. Oh, one more thing, after many years of holding out on the margarita trend, they finally applied for a hard liquor license, and will be serving them shortly! This is the only Mexican restaurant where Mr. RJG gets wine. Given the setting, it seems more appropriate than beer for some reason.

Avila's Mexican on Urbanspoon

*** CLOSED *** Novrozsky's ~ Keller, Texas

Novrozsky's is a classic example of a Regional chain that feels like a Corporate chain. Based in Beaumont, TX, they have 10 locations. 7 are in southeast Texas and another couple in southwest Louisiana. The odd store out is the one here in NE Tarrant, located in Keller. One look at their website tells me that this Keller location is the beginning of a grander ambition. Many of the original stores look local and regional. So much so, that I feel I should visit one separate to this review.

Though I've designated Novrozsky's as a hamburger place, as does the chain itself, it really fits the "eclectic" category better. And that's one of the problems I have with it: They really don't have a distinctive or specialty menu at all. It tries to be all things to all people, which is never a good idea. They have salads, baked potatoes, fish, chicken, healthy choices, appetizers, and of course burgers. They do not at all play to their home grounds of Beaumont. Sure they pay lip service with a couple of Po-Boy sandwiches, but it seems like a throw in, rather than a feature. They don't appear to have a "signature" dish. They do have a buffalo burger, which I've had at least once (it's good), and that's about the only item one doesn't find in most restaurants of this type.

According to my notes this visit was my 4th, and I hardly remember the last 3 (they opened sometime in 2004/05). I've tried something different each time, and never walked away disappointed. Nor have I walked away completely satisfied. That's exactly how I feel when eating at a national chain. This time I tried their cheeseburger, since it's part of their original namesake. It is a good cheeseburger, but it doesn't stack up against the hearty competition of our area like Johnny B's, Kincaid's or Chapps.

Perhaps my biggest complaint with Novrozsky's is they have no sense of place. The restaurant is quite nice actually, a large, comfortable and clean space with beer signs and old souvenirs decorating the walls - with 4 flat screen TVs going on similar to a sports bar. Perfect for a university setting, or maybe a downtown location, or a nice shopping area. In those type of areas, I could easily see walking in for a couple of brews, grabbing some appetizers or a cheeseburger while catching parts of a game. Except Keller is none of the above. It is Soccer Mom suburbia, where the employment is elsewhere in DFW. There are large open spaces that require auto transportation to get anywhere. There is no university within miles. And it's not an ideal place for families and certainly not the appropriate setting as a high school hangout (though they try anyway with the video games). They should, like we mentioned in the Johnny B's thread, play to the local high school crowd. They can keep selling beer to the adults, but it doesn't have to look like a tavern. Not to say that a sports bar isn't a bad idea - as there are a couple of successful sports bars in Keller alone. But Novrozsky's doesn't look or feel like that either.

Personally I can't see how this place stays in business. I've never seen it close to crowded, and it must cost a fortune to lease in such a nice, newer space. Novrozsky's anchors a newish strip mall off of Keller Parkway, and shares space with many known chains like Popeye's, Sonic and Dickey's. If you are the owner of this store you may want to take my suggestions above to heart.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

*** CLOSED *** Little Joe's Pizza ~ Keller, Texas

One of Mr. RJG's favorite places to travel on business is Chicago. Especially if I'm able to get into the city or "inner ring" suburbs. I was fortunate to work for a company who had an office in Westchester. Though it was a modern office, most of Westchester is a classic inner ring suburb (in this case, the "ring" is I-294). Not to mention the towns that border it to the east and north like Hillside, Bellwood, Cicero and Broadview. It is not uncommon to drive by places with colorfully painted windows that say "Beef" or "Italian meat sandwiches".

I bring up these small details, because it helps distinguish the pretenders "Chicago style" from the real deal. Just driving up to Little Joe's and you know instantly it's the "real deal". I haven't seen windows painted like, well, since I last was in Chicago. They even have the Vienna Beef posters and banners.

The location is also classic. This part of Keller would be comfortable as an inner ring suburb of any Midwest or Northeast city. Behind an ancient combo gas station/Chinese restaurant (and, yep, the two sure do go together), is another strip mall, that looks like an afterthought of planning. Little Joe's dominates this portion. The prior two tenants were Mexican restaurants, of which Mr. Jose visited the last one - a ghastly place called Garcia's that mercifully went away quick.

Little Joe's moved in roughly 2 years ago, and it appears to be a hit, especially with transplanted Midwesterners. The last time Mrs. RJG and I went, an adjacent table was talking about how wonderful a city Milwaukee is. Now THAT isn't something you hear in everyday Ft. Worth conversation. (and, fwiw, Mr. RJG agrees about Milwaukee.)

And, also no surprise, they really are a Chicago chain - that is to say, they have two Southside suburb locations, one in Tinley Park and the other in New Lenox.

All of this does not matter if the food doesn't deliver. And it absolutely does. Mr. RJG has spent plenty of months in Chicago and southern Wisconsin, and learned that "Chicago pizza" did not necessarily mean "deep dish" - which the chains would have you believe. Little Joe's thin crust is awesome, with just the right amount of sauce, cheese and ingredients, on top of a thin, crispy crust. We've also tried the standard Italian dishes, and they're good, though not great (though Mr. RJG appreciates the "al forno" dish that is indeed very spicy). I wouldn't say that Little Joe's excels at "Beef", and for that, Mr. RJG still hasn't found a place in DFW that makes it right. Weinbergers of Grapevine is an excellent Chicago deli, but they also struggle with it. And Windy City Grill, another Chicago place in Keller, went from bad to worse. Apparently I wasn't alone in that assessment, as Windy City Grill is no more.

In the article I've pasted below, it's nice to see folks making Little Joe's a "destination spot" and are coming from all over the Metroplex to dine there. If you do make the drive, it's a bit tough to find. Once on Keller Pkwy, look for the Gold-In Chinese restaurant in the 1976 era shopping center (and for Keller - probably the oldest outside of the old town center). It's behind there on Navajo. There's another Joe's Pizza further down on Keller, and that is not related at all to Little Joe's.

Website (strangely does not mention Keller location, but is definitely the same place). Also includes a nice history:

Here's an interesting dialog on the subject of Chicago style pizzerias in the DFW area, that is been going on for some 5 years. From what I could tell in reading it for the first time today, Little Joe's is the clear winner. I would agree, though I haven't been to any of the places listed on the Dallas side of the house.

Friday, May 2, 2008

*** CLOSED *** C&A Italian Family Deli ~ Roanoke, Texas

It appears they've put their resources entirely to the Tirelli's Deli in Keller (also now closed), and have closed the Roanoke location.

Occasionally my neighbor, Mr. SS, will join me on a weekday afternoon for a local restaurant lunch jaunt. Last week, we decided to venture on up to Roanoke. Now Roanoke is "jus' 'cross the counny liine", a short ways north of the NE Tarrant area, and into Denton County. It features a quaint old town area , and has a fair share of independent restaurants, most notable and popular being Babe's Chicken Dinner House. Roanoke is barely detached from the DFW Metroplex, and it won't be long before it's just another suburb in the sprawling mass that we call "home".

Though the old town is a slight detour off the main highway, US 377 also has a few enjoyable places to dine. And one of those is C&A Italian Family deli, sitting peacefully in a vintage 1980s depressing strip center, certain to meet a bulldozer when Roanoke becomes the next "big thing".

Finding a good sub sandwich shop, much less an authentic New York style deli, is a real challenge for us folks in NE Tarrant. Mr. SS, a former Chicago and St. Louis resident, was also bemoaning the fact that there's a dearth of good old fashioned delis. The megachains of Subway and Quizno's are in about every shopping center, and while they certainly are decent places to eat (you may not agree), it does lack for variety. Even the better, slightly less corporate chains like Jersey Mike's, don't exist anywhere close (there's one in Las Colinas, which is a bit far to get a sandwich methinks). C&A Italian Family Deli is the gem in the rough. [And no, we haven't forgotten the wonderful Cero's Heroes or Weinbergers, both of Grapevine. Reviews will follow eventually].

So up to Roanoke we went... Mr. SS had the meatball sub, and I had the one that has the most Italian meats on it... I forget what they call it. I've been going to C&A, regrettably not too often, for about 3 years now. The owners are from The Bronx, and what they provide is a simple, but absolutely delicious sandwich. They use only top quality meats, and best of all, the condiments are super. Fresh lettuce, superb oil and vinegar dressing, good peppers and onions, etc... And where else have you seen RC, diet RC, and grape and orange Nehi? At the fountain no less?

Also worth noting that C&A Family Deli now has a branch in Keller known as Tirelli's Deli. Good news for hus here in NE Tarrant!