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Good hoagies in Northern VA or general DC area?

b
brian14leonard Jun 1, 2011 12:44 PM

My niece moved here from PA recently and would like to find a decent place for hoagies (a/k/a subs). Any suggestions? I know that Al's Steak House in Alexandria is supposed to have the best Philly-style cheesesteaks in the area, but she's more interested in an Italian hoagie...

Thanks in advance,
Brian L.

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Al's Steak House
1504 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301

  1. Dennis S Jun 1, 2011 12:49 PM

    The Deli. There are now three locations, and depending on where your niece is they might all be outside her range. The one I go to is the second, in Herndon, very near K-Mart. The original is in Fairfax, and I forget where the newest one is. The Hot Sicilian is amazing.

    To beat everyone else to the punch, the Italian Store is good, and is close to the District at Spout Run and Rt 29, but The Deli continues to knock their socks off, imho.

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    Italian Store
    3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

    5 Replies
    1. re: Dennis S
      b
      brian14leonard Jun 1, 2011 01:01 PM

      Thanks, Dennis! Both Fairfax and Herndon are within range. Funny, I think she's been to the Italian Store once, but didn't mention if she'd had a hoagie (I've never been there).

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      Italian Store
      3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

      1. re: brian14leonard
        Dennis S Jun 1, 2011 02:28 PM

        I do want to say that I LOVE Philly food and when the term Hoagie is mentioned I might need to be careful. What I should say is that for a SOLID Italian sub/hoagie, The Deli is great (and again) in my belief outshines the Italian Store.

        For a warm sandwich, Santini's does a good job (Oakton, Sterling and Reston), though I wouldn't travel out of my way for them.

        Another option actually is the Philly at Jimmy's in Herndon, or their Beef On Weck (Buffalo sandwich). Every Philly person I've taken there says that their cheesesteak is the closest - and they use Amaroso rolls.

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        Italian Store
        3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

      2. re: Dennis S
        s
        Steve Jun 1, 2011 03:11 PM

        I second the hot Sicilian as the best Italian Hoagie in the area. I've been to the one in Fairfax.

        http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/02/ho...

        Please realize, though, that the widespread availability of fresh, good sub rolls in PA is far superior to this area.

        1. re: Steve
          s
          SoxFan1 Jun 2, 2011 09:16 AM

          I "third" the Hot Sicilian, and just wanted to note that the standard is a "double meat" portion, and it can be ordered as a "single meat" portion for a couple of bucks less (about 6.00 for the 8"), for those of you, like me, who have to watch the calories and sodium intake.

          Also, I am glad (and mildly surprised) that Al's Steaks in Alexandria is being generally panned here. I think there was an older thread in which I was the lone voice saying that Al's really isn't very good. Their cheesesteak has some degree of visual appeal, but I found it totally lacking in taste.

          Mario's is an acquired taste (standard toppings--mayo, yellow mustard, dry slaw, and sweet pickles, yes, even on the steak and cheese), but I have fond memories. The steak is a little thicker and tougher than what you would normally expect, but good flavor.

          1. re: SoxFan1
            Dennis S Jun 2, 2011 12:13 PM

            Yes, the single portion/double portion bit is a good deal to know about. Also, you can ask for light vinegar/oil as well.

            As for Al's, I've been once. Thought it was decent but it took WAY too long to get the sandwich (I'm talking 30 minutes or so).

      3. woodleyparkhound Jun 1, 2011 01:11 PM

        Mangialardo and Sons Inc
        1317 Pennsylvania Ave
        Washington D.C., DC 20003-3027
        (202) 543-6212
        Subway: Potomac Ave Station

        Weekdays only.

        1. t
          TJoR17 Jun 1, 2011 01:26 PM

          Al's Steaks sucks...i'm from Philly and made a special trip to get one...i didn't even want to finish it...meat chopped to bits and tasted cheap, the roll sucked, they put yellow american cheap tasting cheese on it (instead of quality white-american or Whiz like Phila)....it was just a shame...what's even scarier is people on Yelp or whatnot rave about it....definitely Virginia natives...LOL

          Italian Store is pretty legit though.....they have a good choice of different styles of italian-based subs and good rolls (crispy on outside, soft inside...reminds me a little of Amorosos but a little 'harder') A 'cornerstore' Philly Italian hoagie would still smash an Italian Store hoagie in my opinion but I guess beggers can't be chosers!

          -----
          Italian Store
          3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

          21 Replies
          1. re: TJoR17
            f
            flavrmeistr Jun 1, 2011 02:00 PM

            Italian Store for the Italian subs, especially the Capri. Head straight up Kirkwood (on the other side of Lee Hwy. from Spout Run) until you hit Wilson Blvd., take a left and you're at Mario's. Best steak and cheese sub in the DC area.

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            Italian Store
            3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

            1. re: flavrmeistr
              t
              TJoR17 Jun 2, 2011 05:55 AM

              Marios?!? (shaking my head) That place sucks balls...Any place that serves pizza by the "square slice" is an automatic blacklist....their subs are weak as well....

              1. re: TJoR17
                s
                Steve Jun 2, 2011 07:33 AM

                Your interest in balls aside, I happen to think the Mario's cheeseburger sub -with everything- is glorious. In case you haven't tried it, you should.

                Another great thing there is the breakfast sandwich, which has a very generous amount of bacon and is served on Texas toast. Cheap and great. A combination that's hard to beat.

                1. re: Steve
                  t
                  TJoR17 Jun 2, 2011 07:42 AM

                  Who orders cheeseburger subs to begin with?? Not too hard to mess up anything cheeseburger-based anyways....back to the topic of italian subs, i'd be willing to bet they suck @ Marios....

                  1. re: TJoR17
                    Bob W Jun 2, 2011 08:06 AM

                    Who orders cheeseburger subs? I'll tell you who -- me, when I was a freshman at Johns Hopkins in '78-79 and the food in the cafeteria verged on the inedible, so I lived on the cheeseburger subs (double cheeseburger subs, actually) from the snack bar in the dorms. Good stuff but yes, hard to mess up.

                    Since then, not so much. 8<D

                    1. re: Bob W
                      t
                      TJoR17 Jun 2, 2011 08:13 AM

                      haha, i was just giving you a hard time....I love a good cheeseburger sub....though, typically not a 'go-to' for me....definitely a 'safer' order from an unknown/first-time place than a cheesesteak.....

                2. re: TJoR17
                  f
                  flavrmeistr Jun 3, 2011 06:49 AM

                  Mario's has a "Philly" sub on the board, but it's nowhere nasty enough to be considered authentic. No "whiz", no greasy shaved flapsteak to satisfy the miserable Philadelphia palate. So in that regard--weak. You could ask them to spoon on a little fry-o-lator grease to approximate that Philly mouth-feel. Further, testicular gratification is not Mario's stock in trade. That would be the Highlander Motel next door. You were close, though.

                  1. re: flavrmeistr
                    t
                    TJoR17 Jun 3, 2011 07:00 AM

                    hahaha!...Yea I always get a kick out of advertising "Philly Steaks" in the area and then you get in and the steak is all chopped (not "strips" of steak as you mentioned) and, even worse, it'll come loaded with lettuce, tomato, mayo (haha)...nowhere near a philly steak...i can tell you know what you're talking about flavr...we're on the same page...a true philly steak is strictly steak, cheese (whiz or white american) and with (or without) onions.....see the picture (makes me hungry just looking at it...gotta make a trip to PA soon!)

                    http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Ov...

                    1. re: TJoR17
                      f
                      flavrmeistr Jun 3, 2011 07:14 AM

                      Enjoy!

                      1. re: TJoR17
                        Dennis S Jun 3, 2011 01:18 PM

                        I'll be the one to note this once again, but in this area, make sure about what it's called. If it's Steak and Cheese, then it will come with lettuce, tom, mayo. It's more of a DC sandwich than the Cheesesteak. However, last time I was in Philly (in Nov), they sell steak and cheese's also at many places.

                        Search the board for Joe H and Steak and Cheese and I think you can find the exhaustive explanations and stories.

                        lso, just for the record, my preference is Tony Luke's, though I need to try the one in the stadium parking lot, and there's one whose name starts with S that's supposed to give TL's a run for their money. TL's is not greasy and nasty - it's actually some pretty good meat.

                        Jim's left me wanting (and surprisingly more than either Pat's or Geno's, which is an amazing conclusion, imo).

                        1. re: Dennis S
                          t
                          TJoR17 Jun 3, 2011 01:27 PM

                          You're probably referring to "Steve's Prince of Steaks"...its in North Philly and is my favorite of them all....

                          http://www.stevesprinceofsteaks.com/

                          http://www.yelp.com/biz/steves-prince...

                          1. re: TJoR17
                            Dennis S Jun 3, 2011 02:45 PM

                            Yes - that's it! Thank you, b/c I'll be back there in a couple of months. I always have to stop at TL's now, but need to try Steve's. Also, I took my coworkers to Jims, which as I said was a let down (and this was after I steered them away from Pat's/Geno's)

                            1. re: Dennis S
                              t
                              TJoR17 Jun 3, 2011 02:59 PM

                              Yea see I've always thought Jim's was always a let down too (and more of a South Street tourist trap)...Don't get me wrong-not that Pat's or Geno's isn't....but Pat's & Geno's are at least the real deal...Jim's got the whole 'chopped steak' thing going on vs. the "strips" that Pats, Genos, Steve's has....I feel you can't go wrong with taking a 'new comer' to Pats, Tony Lukes, or Steves...but Jims?? Ugh, amateur move, my friend!! Take them to Steve's (the above site) and I promise you no one on your trip there will leave disappointed....it's the least 'touristy' of them all, thus, the best....just a bit of a hike (15-20 minutes) from South Philly (but well worth it)...

                              1. re: TJoR17
                                Dennis S Jun 4, 2011 03:33 AM

                                I did the Pat's Geno's thing my first two visits years ago, and then went with a friend from Philly who showed me Tony Luke's and I knew the difference. I also started to see how many places do the cheesesteak (all those carts around City Hall, for instance, and any place that also makes pizza - it seems).

                                But he and I were up for a concert and before hand were imbibing at a small divey bar and a big discussion started about Jim's vs Tony Lukes. This was the night before I went to TL's. My friend was the proponent for TL, but the woman seemed to know what she was talking about.

                                So, that led to last fall where I knew Tony Luke's, and indeed stopped there the night I got in (before meeting with the coworkers), and it was great. I tossed it out to the coworkers, but said it'd be a drive and so we opted for Jim's. It seemed the real deal from everything until I got the actual sandwich.

                                I might have to do Steve's on my own this next trip (my reputation took a hit with Jim's), but eat it in front of the coworkers to help boost my ratings again.

                                Oh, and curious - is Tony Luke's "touristy"? On the south side like it is, under the highway, with parking in the middle of the street, etc? I love it, and there seemed to now be a bunch of big box stores around the corner, but it's actual location seems pretty "native".

                                1. re: Dennis S
                                  DanielK Jun 4, 2011 06:14 AM

                                  I think TL's is still considered to be the locals favorite secret. Even though it's right off 95, whenever I stop, I rarely see plates other than PA and a few NJ/DE thrown in. And there were a LOT of Phillies caps...

                                  P.S. The TL road stand is much better than the TL sports pub across the street.

                                  1. re: Dennis S
                                    t
                                    TJoR17 Jun 4, 2011 02:02 PM

                                    Dennis, to an extent, they are all "touristy" but I feel Tony L's is the least touristy...the main "tourist" hit-ups are Jims, Genos and Pats (though as mentioned above, despite the touristy aspect of Pats and Genos, they def do serve up a quality, legit steak in my opinon....I just stay away from Jims....i can get Steves, Tonys, Genos, or Pats and be very content/satisfied with them all (though, my go-tos are Tonys or Steves)....PLEASE take the solo mission to steves,,,,get a wiz (or american) with (or without) and i promise you'll be sooo happy with it....come back on this thread and let me know how amazing it was after u get back!! MAN, i love cheesesteaks! (believe it or not im in great shape haha steaks are my weakness though! haha)

                                    1. re: TJoR17
                                      d
                                      dining with doc Jun 7, 2011 06:18 PM

                                      a few years ago, Crimini's Deli 2 blocks from Termini Brothers Bakery, on South 8th street not far from the Stadium, won a philadelphia magazine article with 5 clogged coronary arteries. It was written by some guy who ate I think about 50 different Cheesesteaks in 30 days. Another philly institution is off Belmont Ave near the Skuykill called Mama's or Mother's. was great
                                      The only 2 Maryland versions of a Philly Cheesesteak that are not bad are at South Street Steaks in Bethesda and at Philadelphia Mikes in Bethesda. They are not exactly like the many fantastic places in Philly but they are authentic, with good rolls which are just chewy enough.

                                      -----
                                      Philadelphia Mike's
                                      7732 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

                                      South Street Steaks
                                      4856 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814

                            2. re: Dennis S
                              monkeyrotica Jun 4, 2011 08:39 AM

                              DC steak & cheeses come standard L/T/M, but I have yet to find a place that doesn't ask, "Lettuce, tomato, mayo?" You get the same thing in Philly, but they call it a "cheesesteak hoagie." And I've found most cheesesteaks at sitdown places in and around DC usually either serve SteakUms or some bland sort of roast beef. But most bulletproof Chinese carryouts use shredded bulgogi style ribeye. I don't know if this is because many are owned by Koreans but that's my theory.

                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                f
                                flavrmeistr Jun 4, 2011 08:58 AM

                                Mario's is the only place around that uses sliced ribeye. It really is a STEAK and cheese sub. Lost Dog in Westover uses grilled roast beef, which is a pretty good sandwich.

                                -----
                                Lost Dog Cafe
                                5876 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

                                1. re: flavrmeistr
                                  monkeyrotica Jun 4, 2011 10:11 AM

                                  The Broiler also does a good steak & cheese, but I always end up getting the homemade spicy Italian sausage patty sub.

                                  I just got back from MGM Roast beef. The top round wasn't ready, so I tried the brisket. Although it was slow roasted instead of smoked, it was really juicy, tender, and not dried out at all. On a kaiser roll with a little horseradish mayo, it really hit the spot.

                    2. re: TJoR17
                      agarnett100 Jun 2, 2011 08:33 AM

                      I have to agree Al's Steaks is not even worth mentioning is reference to cheesesteaks

                    3. d
                      dining with doc Jun 1, 2011 01:32 PM

                      Taylor Gourmet on K between 5th and 6th. Every sandwich is named after a philly street. I lived in Philly for 6 years. Not exactly the corner store in south philly with the great cheesesteak or italian hoagie but the rolls are close to what you get up there and you can even get a roasted pork with brocolli rabe. check out the website.

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                      Taylor Gourmet
                      1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: dining with doc
                        s
                        Steve Jun 1, 2011 03:12 PM

                        The roast pork at Taylor Gourmet is killer.

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                        Taylor Gourmet
                        1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                        1. re: Steve
                          Bob W Jun 2, 2011 05:23 AM

                          I'm not in the least a roast pork expert, but that is one fantastic sandwich.

                          The Italian Store is a very good choice for cold subs (and pizza by the slice, and Berger Cookies, and Martin's chips....8<D). Always opt for the hard roll!

                          One option if you happen to be out in the distant burbs is Wegmans. They have very decent subs, on fresh rolls baked in house. And they are gigantic.

                        2. re: dining with doc
                          DanielK Jun 1, 2011 04:04 PM

                          Italian Store makes an excellent sandwich, but if you want a Philly-style Italian Hoagie, then Taylor Gourmet is definitely the place. [I'm from Philly]

                          They have 3 locations - 5th & K NW, 11th & H NE, and Woodmont Ave in Bethesda. And supposedly a new location coming to 14th & T this summer.

                          -----
                          Italian Store
                          3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                          Taylor Gourmet
                          1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                        3. monkeyrotica Jun 2, 2011 05:57 AM

                          Litteri's Market on Florida Avenue makes an excellent Italian sandwich. They also have the best deals on Italian wines and imported items this side of Baltimore. Double check the dates on the frozen pastas, though. Some of them date from the McKinley administration.

                          http://litteris.com/

                          http://litteris.com/

                          1. s
                            Snd485 Jun 2, 2011 11:02 AM

                            I second Taylor Gourmet.

                            -----
                            Taylor Gourmet
                            1116 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002

                            1. m
                              MDBBQFiend Jun 3, 2011 07:41 AM

                              Marchone's Italian Market in the heart of Wheaton makes a good Italian coldcut - ask for it on the "hard roll" and you've got a really solid sub. Very nice meats and cheeses, crushed red hot peppers an absolute.

                              Their meatball subs are good too - a real gory mess to eat!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MDBBQFiend
                                m
                                mscoffee1 Jun 3, 2011 02:25 PM

                                I haven't been for a long while but yes, yes, yes to the subs and BREAD.

                              2. r
                                rHairing Jun 7, 2011 06:49 PM

                                OK..tried The Deli. I've done The Italian Store and the Italian Gourmet, Santini's and Chutzpah. I ordered The Hot Sicilian. I give it to The Italian Store. The Deli had too much meat. I found myself pulling it out. The Italian store just has this amazing balance of the meat, the peppers, the everything.

                                -----
                                Italian Store
                                3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: rHairing
                                  s
                                  SoxFan1 Jun 7, 2011 07:58 PM

                                  That's one reason why I get the "single meat" portion at the Deli. I will resolve to try the Italian Store, as I sometimes jump off of the GW Parkway at Spout Run if traffic is really bad. That way, I will be better informed.

                                  -----
                                  Italian Store
                                  3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201

                                  1. re: SoxFan1
                                    Dennis S Jun 8, 2011 12:56 AM

                                    Agreed -the single portion is the way to go, and you can also ask for a light hand on the vinegar and oil. Perhaps the balance obtained this way is something the IS does "out of the box".

                                    FWIW, I like Santini's and Chutzpah, but they're just different. Santini's has a good chicken Philly (hot) and Chutzpah more for breakfast or crazy things like the Fuggedaboutit. But - to each their own, right?

                                    1. re: Dennis S
                                      v
                                      VaPaula Jun 8, 2011 07:09 AM

                                      To each his own is right! We eat Santini's fairly often and the chicken Philly was one of the sandwiches I just didn't care for. I've liked every red sauce sandwich, though, especially pumped up with a little crushed red pepper. Pretty good bread, too.

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