9th Street Deli
 Indiana, Pennsylvania        Date of Visit  02/17/15         

I’ve been working once a week in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Yeah, I didn’t know either, but nice place, nice people. I’ve been going for about a month and drinking fat guy shakes. Today, Steph went with me to see where I disappear to on Tuesdays and we decided to add another state, I mean city to our list of adventures. An online search of the area reveals Indiana is the city of sandwiches so we picked a couple of places, the 9th street deli and Steel City Samiches.



It's A Tiny But Active Space

9th Street seemed more like a lunch place so we ended up there first. Small and a little confusing at first we made it past the tables of regulars and found our way to the register in the back where you order…then go to the register in the middle to pay. In between you can pick up sides or chips or desserts or salads or dip and smokes apparently.

When we got to the back our novice status was obvious and the large crew of black shirted and saucy sandwich slingers seemed positively tickled to help us out. We learned the best hot samich is the cheesesteak and the best cold is the Italian. We did one of each. Not really one…half of each. The sandwiches here are two-foot behemoths which are being carried out the front door without pause. The tables are also pretty well packed by students, faculty, cops (local & state), business folks, teens, and on and on. It reminded me of Chap’s Charcoal in Baltimore. When you find where everyone gathers to eat, regardless of race, religion, socioeconomic status, garb or any other factor…you have stumbled into grace. Different people should eat together more often.


They Have A "Few" Chips From Local Producers


And Teeny, Tiny Sammitches

Our hoagies ordered we were recommended the pasta salad by another employee and added potato salad. Then we saw the desserts…also homemade like the salads and everything else. Didn’t plan on it but picked up a couple of pies and found a seat.

The pasta salad is textbook in the way that Larousse Gastronomique is textbook for fussy French cuisine. It is spectacular. Al dente pasta, bright but balanced vinaigrette, salty cheese, fresh veggies, sharp olives, herbage and deeply spiced salami. It reminds me of the monkey salad from Antone’s sans tuna and lettuce.

The potato salad is every bit as good. Chunks of tater are lush but still maintain texture and are embedded in stupid rich mayo (more on that in a sec) which is clearly sweetened but comes with a tang of mustard and some veg. I loved it. Steph said “Best potato salad I have ever had.” I think I agree.



Things Off To Great Start With The Pasta Salad

And Continue With Extravagant Potato


The sandwiches arrived and the halves are monsters in and of themselves. The Italian comes with Virginia ham and the same salami as the pasta salad. It might seem like there is not much meat from the picture but there is plenty and what really stood out for me were the veggies and vinaigrette anyways. Salty pork products are laid atop a very cold and crisp medley of veg which as been imbued with that bright and beautiful house vinaigrette. Pile all of that in an enormous roll with a soft doughy interior to sop up the tasty but a crisp to the exterior that stops just short of chewing up the top you your mouth but still keeps your teeth active and excited. That’s a sammitch!

Stupendous Italian Sub

And Yes...Both Of Them Together Total A "Half"

The steak and cheese was even a little better. The thin strips of warm steak are well seasoned and still running with beefy-juicy joy. I can’t say it’s better than Pat’s King of Steaks in Philly. Pat's has been better, but Pat's has also been worse.  I have never had one that seriously rivaled them before. I have now. Pat’s converted me to the whole wiz thing, which would be glorious in the 9th Street version, but they ain't got it. Same excellent bread, less veg, melted provolone (good second choice), and a swipe of their house mayo. The mayo is seriously rich and has a tang I haven’t scooped out of a jar. It really adds so much more than fat and lubrication. 2 for 2 and 4 for 4.

The Hits Just Keep Coming

This Thing Is Delicious

Completing the sixfecta were the two desserts. The blueberry cream pie was not the expected layer of filling and layer of goop but berries that had been cooked through with some creamy concoction and set in the crust. The crust itself was well baked but pretty average. The crumble atop the fruity blend was stupendous. Hints and hits of different spices, savoriness, sweetness; the whole thing was excellent. The pistachio cream pie was also set off by an unexpected participant, the crust. Dark and serious chocolate, just a little sugar. I haven’t had chocolate covered pistachios before…but I’ve now been close.

Chocolate Crust On Pistachio Is Fantastic

Along With The Crumble On Blueberry Cream

9th Street Deli was an amazing surprise for my first excursion in Indiana. Even though it's close to self serve, people kept checking in to be sure we were enjoying everything. We couldn’t miss and just kept staring at each other every time we bit into something new. Easily worth trying to find some parking. The price point is a real steal compared to what we are used to. If this is how the sammitches come in town…you can have as many sandwich centric restaurants as you want. Turns out…not everyone carries the banner so proudly.




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