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Famous 4th Street Deli Restaurant – Philadelphia, PA

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We figured out what they’re famous for.

Famous 4th Street Deli Restaurant – Philadephia, PA 19147
700 S Fourth Street Meal: Breakfast / Weekend/ 12:30p
Price: $24 (Excludes tip – for two)

In the throws of an economic recession, it seems everyone is cutting back. All sorts of food items jars have lost a couple of ounces over the last two years, some cereals are now sub-10oz (maybe 3 bowls full), and many restaurants are scaling back portion sizes to trim costs. Most do this with good reason; they face increased production costs but dont want to increase their pricing to discourage customers. With this is mind, I was interested to see if Famous 4th Street Deli still kept true to their Jewish roots with unusually large portion sizes. Safe to say, I received a resounding answer.

We arrived at the Deli right around lunch time on a Sunday, and it was packed out the gills. The line was about a dozen long but we eventually decided to wait our turn. It was clear from the beginning that big – unbelievably big – is not dead in the world of portion sizing. Slices of cake showcased in the the bakery portion of the building looked large enough to be movie props. Cookies were as large as cakes. For someone that doesn’t frequent Jewish delis a whole lot, it’s clear that I’ve been missing something. The entire place is fairly small, but they manage to fit a whole lot of people in there. At the same time, they’re running a full-service deli and bakery for walk-up customers which makes it even tighter. I nearly elbowed a woman moving only a few inches to my side. For all the people, though, the restaurant looked fairly clean and efficient. With so many waiters and waitresses running around, I expected there to be more chaos. There really wasn’t. While you’re waiting, you’ll have the treat to watch the staging of some of the most gigantic entrees you’ll ever see. Check out the turkey sandwhich below (which was a ‘regular’ size; they have larger available!) with the ‘side’ of fries. It’s enough to feed four people, in my opinion.

Light lunch?

Light lunch?

The menu was pretty extensive, but we were happy to note that they serve breakfast anytime. Absent are pancakes and waffles, but you’ll find plenty of eggs, smoked fish, bagels, cured meats, salads, and all sorts of other deli goodness. Prices are on the high side as far as raw dollar figures go, but the value for the dollar is superb. No matter what you order, you’ll get a complimentary generously-sized appetizer of dill pickles and coleslaw. My $11 western omelet looked like it was made from four eggs, loaded with plentiful fillings. The wheat toast included? Two slices almost the size of my entire face. The home fries? Maybe two full mid-sized potatoes. Serious portions.

The service was suprisingly swift given that the restaurant had to be at capacity. Or order hit the table within 5 minutes and our waitress had a genuine personality and I liked her a lot. On top of that, the food was terrific.The omelet was prepared perfectly and everything came out fairly hot. The coffee was freshly ground and had a terrific, slightly sweet flavor that warranted a second cup. My friend’s eggs were fried to perfection although her bowl of fruit was comparatively ‘normal’ in size (perhaps due to the costs of fresh fruit in February?). I suppose I could whine about how crowded it was and the seating, but it’s easy to forget once you dig in. If you’re looking for a place to get a big meal, you can’t go wrong here. After the meal, you’ll get a couple of ‘famous’ chocolate chip cookies as a nice send off, although I don’t think you’ll be eating them out of hunger in any capacity. For all but the most herculean appetites, you won’t have room for even a single ‘slice’ of cake.

– Unreal portion sizes
– Great quality food
– Efficient service

Cons: – Few smaller choices to save money

Guru’s Score: 4.8 Chews
Subjective rating: Definitely coming back!
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