Lunch Money: Spinelli's Deli
When your last name is Spinelli, I guess it's pretty much a no-brainer to open a deli. (That, or create a line of jellies.) But Spinelli's, a popular lunch spot in Victorian Village, has more going for it than just a nifty name.
A rainbow-colored neon sign and front window hand-painted with a field of flowers set the mood at this fun neighborhood restaurant, with menu items named after nearby streets (the Thurber Big Beef, the Philly Beefy Buttles).
There are a few small tables inside, but unless you enjoy listening to other people place their orders at the counter (and sometimes that is fun), it's better to snag an outdoor table. Yes, you're looking out onto a grocery store parking lot, but it's the Victorian Village Giant Eagle, so at least there's good people watching.
Here's what you can get for under $10.
The Half & Half, $6.50
Spinelli's has better-than-average salads, loaded with tasty toppings and accompanied by good, made-from-scratch dressings. But it's a little silly to head to a deli - aka lunch-meat emporium - and order a salad, I think.
Luckily, they have a nice compromise option, the Half & Half. For $6.50, you can pick either a half-sandwich and half-salad, a half-sandwich and small soup, or a half-salad and small soup.
At the end of July, the logical option is to pick a salad and something off the cold sandwiches menu. A favorite is the Big Mamoo, stacked with salami, capicola ham, provolone, lettuce, tomato and hot peppers.
Despite its name, the half-sandwich at first seems a little on the small side, but don't panic. There's a nice stack of thick-sliced, wonderfully salty meat and cheese, and everything's served on a substantial, soft and chewy Italian sub roll.
To balance the saltiness, I went with the sweet and flavorful Fresh Fruit Poppyseed Salad. Piled on romaine lettuce is a big heap of ripe strawberries, blueberries, mandarin orange slices and chopped pecans. A container of thick and creamy Poppyseed Dressing comes on the side.
Lunch Money Math
With your leftover money, you could go several ways. Chips, pasta salad and potato salad are available for an extra fee, or you could order a fancy coffee drink.
The cookie rack proved incredibly tempting, though. I chose the Peanut Butter Cup Cookie, which I saved for savoring back at my desk. It's a peanut butter cookie made with whole peanuts, then studded with chopped peanuts and drizzled in chocolate.
And it gets even better - embedded in the cookie is an entire Reese's Cup.
767 Neil Ave., Victorian Village