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Aug 26, 2007 08:23 AM

Tony's Italian Deli - Sunnyslope (PHX)

Has anyone been?

I stumbled upon it by accident while in the area (7th St & Dunlap) as it seemed the only non-chain place for blocks (save for a couple of taco stands but I was having Mexican food later).

Apparently it's been there for decades and has the feel of a well worn place. It's definitely worlds apart from the more modern deli places discussed here as of late. In fact it seems as though someone took a corner shop from a working class section of NY and moved it to PHX. Back in 1952. About the size of a 7-11 but with 3 times the goods, it has tiny aisles crammed with merchandise... wine, sauces, oils, tiny coolers filled with fare. The walls are adorned with photos, cartoons and clippings going back decades. And along one whole wall is a massive, old school deli case holding bulk cheeses, meats, sausages, peppers, etc. They've also got a pretty massive selection of dried pastas. Again, not the fancy new age, flavor infused gourmet varieties - simply noodles of all shapes and sizes. Its family run and definitely has an old school, east coast vibe. It's a bit like Defalcos in Scottsdale, only a bit more aged and disheveled.

I simply wanted a quick lunch and kind of panicked, ordering their "discount" lunch special - spaghetti, meatball, garlic bread and salad for $4.95. Just to keep it in perspective, the garlic bread was the size of a hot dog bun, the salad was a scoop of iceberg with some bits of tomato and the spaghetti was pretty pedestrian. This meal wasn't aimed at the modern Italian fusion culinary explorer. Just quick and easy.

After getting back home and looking at online reviews it seems I would have done better ordering a sandwich. But that's one of the reasons I panicked and went with the quick and easy... they have too many choices. Their to-go menu has 28 listed, ranging from a small Italian hero ($1.95) to a large, warm corned beef with cheese, lettuce & tomato for $4.70. While waiting for my selection, there was a steady stream of folks with heavy accents ordering cuts of meats, antipastas, marinated fare, etc from the glass case. They also have a freezer with various homemade entrees (mostly pastas) etc.

Finally it was definitely unique to have an Italian grandmother ringing up my purchases on a massive old school cash register while a polite young miss carefully wrapped up some deli selections and bagged it all to go. I might as well have been in Brooklyn - until I walked outside and was hit by our summer blast furnace and the sounds of Mariachi-thumping cars whizzing by.

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    Tony's Italian Delicatessen
    536 E Dunlap Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85020

    1. Jon-

      You beat me to the review! Ever since moving to Sunnyslope, we have been known to go to Tony's for a sandwich. The atmosphere is definitely unique; their sandwiches are pretty good. I usually get the large Italian hero and at $2.95 it isn't a bad deal. Their tuna and Special Italian sandwiches are good too. Usually end up leaving with a pound of pasta salad, a couple of cannoli and a few homemade Italian sausages.

      As far as their grocery section goes, yes, they have a TON of goodies that you would expect to find in an Italian grocer. Unique pastas, wines, cooking gadgets, oils, sauces, etc. The best part of it all, is yes, the service.

      1. I was going to post, but I see that Tony's is not the spot where Our Gang Restaurant used to be. Nevermind.


        3 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Bill, do you have a review of Il Posto? (the former Our Gang)

          1. re: pickychick

            No, not yet. When I first saw Tastyjon's post, that was my first thought. Then, I looked at the location, and realized that I had gotten confused - happens all too often nowadays. I could not cancel out, only remove the comments, that I had had, regarding the old Our Gang.

            As we are in the area, and did enjoy Our Gang, for a simple, neighborhood Italian fix (better than Saluté, which is closer). We'll try to do Il Posto, before the Autumn sets in.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              We live in the area as well, and visited Il Posto a couple weeks after they opened. We were VERY disappointed. All the ambiance from Our Gang is gone. And so are most of the dishes/pizzas we liked. They advertise in our neighborhood newsletter and I guess things must not be going very well because a recent ad had in big letters something about "same owners as Our Gang!!!" I will keep an eye out for a review from you and honestly hope they have figured out their new look, feel, and taste!

        2. I've seen Tony's for years and never thought to drop in.

          Now that I know it's a full service deli, I'll have to go.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mamamia

            Keep in mind that it's very "old school." You're not going to get organic panini with grass fed mozza, heirloom tomatos, FedEx delivered, parma ham on artisan bread. You get a hero with cheese, or no cheese. Lettuce or no lettuce. It's a deli from 1968 - but that's a very cool thing as well and very needed these day.