Iconic and delicious.
In Philadelphia history and tradition are intertwined. What Philadelphia also has is a strong sense of “family” and there is no better example of that than at Campo’s Deli. Located on the busy, ever changing, eastern portion of Market street by the big blue Benjamin Franklin Bridge, it is now safe to call Campo’s a Philadelphia “icon”. More than six decades ago Ambrose and Rose Campo started a grocery store. Yep, it’s matured into the deli that we now have today. All of those who have been thee are thankful for its continued existence. Your reviewer was first introduced to it in 2002 and enjoyed many a fine lunch hour there. A change in office location a few years later brought on the harsh realization that trips to Campo’s wouldn’t be possible. What a void ensued. Que buona fortuna when the office location changed again….and all was made right! Campo’s would again make Friday lunches special, with the added joy of al fresco dining in the good weather.
What’s this mystique all about? Naturally the food, but it is more than that. It’s family that work there day in and out and the way that they all seem to recognize their customers. You feel nourished on several dimensions if you know what I mean. The deli is “cozy”…the counter flanks the bricked wall and there are a handful of the silver tables for some reason that remind your reviewer of the star ship Enterprise. The big front widows open up on clement days and there are some outside tables for even more fresh air (ok for Philly anyway). Here’s a quick peek at what you would find – hot and cold sandwiches, healthful salads, hoagies to suit all serious fans, a pasta of the day, hot soup, and of course something for the sweet tooth.
The Philly cheeseteaks (with or without onions) are traditional thinly sliced grilled ribeye with American or cheese whiz. If you want provolone (regular or sharp) or swiss cheese then add an additional 50cents to the charge of $6.50. Variations include Chicken Cheese Steak, Bar-B-Q Cheese steak at $7.25 and $7.50 respectively. Not enough local choices, then consider one of their 7 Philly Hoagie’s starting at $6.75 for the Campo’s Italian special. That classic include Dilusso salame, capacollo ham, peppered ham, pepperoni, prosciutto and provolone. Mixed Cheese, Italian, Turkey Breast, Roast Beef, Corned Beef, Chicken and Tuna Salad are your other “hoagie” choices. At Campo’s you always have your choice of regular or seeded Italian bread. The hot sandwiches remain your reviewers favorites.
Simply put, there hasn’t been any better Meatball sandwich (ask for extra ” gravy” at additional charge) that your reviewer has ever had. This is the “standard” by which all are measured. The meatballs are soft, not overly breaded, and the “gravy” of course brings it all home! You’ll pay $7.25 for this, and its well spent indeed. A delicious hot alternative is the Crab Cake at $7.25 as well. It’s 100% jumbo lump crab meat served with lettuce and tomato. The work associates of the reviewer are serious fans of Campo’s and they all seem to come back to their Corned Beef Reuben. Also priced at $7.25 this brings together a large sandwich with corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese. Other choices in the ” hot sandwich” category include Pepper and Egg, Chesseburger Deluxe, Sausage Parmigiana, Hot Beef with Provolone. A la carte side orders can include Potato Salad or Cole Slaw for $2.50 each; pickles are only 50 cents! Homemade mac and cheese for $3.75, Tortellini Parmigiana $3.25 and Tomato and Basil for $1.50 are just a few of the items to consider. The hot pasta of the day is served with your choice of chicken or meatballs in a homemade Italian “gravy”. A side salad a garlic bread accompany the dish. Cheese Cake, Rice Pudding, freshly baked cookies, Cannoli, Pizzelles close out this great ensemble…starting at 75 cents up to $3.50. Stop everything (except breathing of course) don’t walk…but run to Campo’s – which your reviewer gives after years of experience-4.5 chews.
– Best meatball sandwich!
Pop Pop’s Score: 4.5 Chews
Subjective rating: Loving it!
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