Budget Beat

Lunch $10 and Under at Romanelli's

Enter Romanelli's on the northwest side of Phoenix, and you'll instantly feel as though you've been transported to Little Italy in New York City. Heck, you feel like you're in Italy. Or at least like you're from Italy, There are so many little Italian themed signs, shirts and other trinkets at this place as soon as you walk in the door that you can't help but feel like you've got a little Italian blood in you even if you don't.

Family owned and operated for over 25 years, Romanelli's Italian deli and store has been a neighborhood staple in north Phoenix since its opening. As many other businesses in the area have come and gone, Romanelli's has kept a loyal following due to the fact that they constantly serve up quality and savory food.

On this particular trip we chose what is arguably the shop's signature dish, the Italian Stallion sub sandwich, $6.99. This mammoth sandwich is served on white, wheat or Italian bread, I went with the latter, and it is overflowing with ham, capicolla, Genoa salami, pepperoni and provolone cheese. It is then topped off with shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard and Romanelli's homemade Italian dressing.

This one is definitely not for amateurs. We had to bounce around the room a little, Rocky-style, to get into the ring with this colossal sandwich. Once we did, we were not disappointed. The mix of meats, veggies and dressing was like an explosion of flavors in our mouth. The bread was crusty, yet soft and fresh.

Aside from the 24 different subs they offer, they have various homemade dishes like lasagna, meatballs, Italian sausage and peppers, spaghetti and more depending on the day. All of which have never failed us. During our visit, we overheard a couple's conversation with one of the workers. They were obvious regulars and they were from Gilbert. This type of exchange isn't uncommon at Romanelli's. People come from far and near to indulge themselves.

Romanelli's also offers a very wide range of Italian products from their homemade dressings and sauces to dozens of kinds of pastas, olive oils, cookies, gelatos ... you name it, they've probably got it. They have a full service meat and cheese counter, along with an antipasto bar which offers many hard to find Italian delicacies.

Our personal favorites though are the homemade chocolate chip cannolis. They are not messin', let's just say that. You can buy the shells premade and go home and attempt to make a better filling, but we doubt there are few that can top Romanelli's recipe.

There are a few tables by the meat counter if you can't wait to eat your meal at your home or office, which we suspect many cannot do. Though you may have to make the waddling walk of shame after you devour your food. Which reminds us, we still have a cannoli in the fridge.

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Theresa Cano
Contact: Theresa Cano