Tuesday, December 22, 2009

LOU'S TOO: Home is where the zep is

TRAPPE — From Philly’s cheese steak to Norristown’s zep, there is no shortage of pride and tradition around here for a good, hearty sandwich.

Lou’s Too in Trappe, located at 732 W. Main St., is no stranger to this storied tradition, and if you grew up scarfing down zeps in Norristown, you know why. For the past seven decades, the original Lou’s of Norristown is largely responsible for popularizing the zep, a simple but locally adored variation on the common hoagie with no lettuce and just one meat.

Enough salami to cover a foot of wide, golden-crusted roll, enough provolone to cover the salami, thumb-thick chunks of raw onion and slabs of tomato across the whole thing. Add oregano, salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste. Hot pepper relish if desired. And that’s it.

“You take any Norristown kid from the ’50s and you give him now, 50 years later, a zep,” said Jerry Spinelli , 68, a children’s book author and Norristown native in a recent Associated Press article, “and he will be transported back to his hometown.”

Owned by the same family — the Alba’s — Lou’s Too pride themselves in transporting people back to their childhood and home town as well. With a similar menu featuring dozens of zeps & other satisfying sandwiches, and the same strong family-oriented atmosphere, Lou’s Too is every bit as good as the original.

“Our goal is to treat everyone as family,” said Michael Alba who operates the store with wife Margaret and their sons Louis and Charlie. “And to build a relationship that transcends generations.”

The zep menu is undoubtedly Lou’s bread and butter (er, salami and provolone to be exact), but that shouldn’t stop folks from digging deeper into the menu. Lou’s Too serves up dozens of other satisfying sandwiches like cheese steaks, burgers, clubs, grilled cheese, chicken or egg salad and much more. They also make their own meatloaf, chili, meatballs, chicken, egg and tuna salads.

They also feature salads, pasta specials and have a vegetarian sandwich menu.

Breakfast is served Monday thru Friday from 9 - 11 a.m., Saturday from 8 - 11 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. The menu includes french toast, pancakes, eggs & omelettes, and a number of their signature sandwiches.

As for the zeps, they come in four sizes (round roll, medium, large, or half-large) and include the Chix Salda, Ham, Steak, Burger, Turkey Burger, Tuna, Beef, Turkey, Mix Cheese, Provolone Cheese, Genoa Zep, or the infamous Gut Buster.

And for those who still like lettuce on their hoagies, try Lou’s Special which comes packed with provolone, genoa salami, cappacola, tomatoes, onions, oil, oregano and lettuce.

Lou’s Too is open for dine-in and take-out seven days a week, and is located at 732 W. Main St. in Trappe. Hours are 9 a.m. - 8p.m., Mon. - Fri.; 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday; and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday. The entire menu is available for take-out. Call 610-831-1248.

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GOOD SPORTS: The Bear's Den in Boyertown

BOYERTOWN — There isn’t a place that offers a better taste of Boyertown than The Bears’ Den.

Located at 133 S. Chestnut Street, the unique community landmark is a cozy, sports memorbilia-themed restaurant — its walls lined with old photographs, jerseys and newspaper clippings from Boyertown’s long, storied sports history.

“The name speaks for itself,” says Kelly Frain, who owns the restaurant with husband Dennis. “There are bears everywhere!”

The Den will be celebrating it’s third anniversary this January.

“We loved the idea of a sports-themed restaurant all about the history of Boyertown,” said Kelly.

But it’s not just the eatery’s walls that celebrate Boyertown. The Den boasts outstanding customer service and is open to host any fundraiser or event that benefits the community, including a number of fundraisers they do with Boyertown School District.

And just like the decor, the menu is a grand slam too, offering a tasty assortment of mouth-watering sandwiches, hoagies and paninis. as well as salads, sides, pizza and items from the fryer.

All deli sandwiches are $5.95 grilled or cold and include the Roast Beef Special, Corned Beef Special, Turkey, Ham, and the popular Reubnen which is corned beef, swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on your choice of bread.

Panini sandwiches are all grilled and served on tasty ciabatta bread, including the Grilled Chicken, Tuscany, Milan, Veggie and Caribbean.

Hoagies can be ordered medium or large and include the Italian, American, Turkey, Grilled Ham & Cheese, Cheese, Tuna or Roast Beef. And customers can add the Den’s own homemade hot peppers or sweet peppers for an extra 50 cents.

The Den’s trademark cheese steaks (made with sauce and onions) are also quite popular among guests. Other steak sandwiches on the menu include buffalo steaks, chicken cheese steaks, pepperoni cheese steaks and mushroom cheese steaks.

Special hoagies include the Twinburger Hoagie, Cheese Steak Hoagie, Pepperoni or Mushroom Cheese Steak Hoagie or the Meatball Parmesan.

Half-pound and quarter-pound burgers are also available, as well as hot dogs, grilled cheese, peanut butter & jelly, pizza, stromboli and even nachos with cheese.

The fryer menu includes Chicken Fingers, French Fries, Cheese Fries, Gravy Fries, Mozzarella Cheese Stix, Breaded Mushrooms, Breaded Veggies, Pierogies and wings.

The Bears’ Den is located at 133 S. Chestnut Street, Boyertown and is open six days a week. Hours are Sun. 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., Mon., Wed. & Thurs. 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. and closed Tues. Call 610-367-2422 for more information.

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Monte Carlo Pizza & Family Restaurant celebrates one year in Gilbertsville

GILBERTSVILLE — The Bonsignore family has spent more than 30 years in the business serving up savory Italian-styled food and delicious, mouth-watering pizza. Early November, marked the family’s one year anniversary at their 1885 Swamp Pike location, Monte Carlo Pizza & Family Restaurant.

And how did they ring in the anniversary? By giving back, of course. During lunch time, Monte Carlo dished out a free slice of pizza and drink to all police and fire fighters who stopped in for a bite.

“Thanks to all customers, new and old,” said Fabrizio Bonsignore, who is helping nephew Joseph Bonsignore to run and eventually take over the restaurant. “Our mission is to get better every day and to provide the best food and service around.”

So far, so good. Monte Carlo has quickly made a name for itself as the place to go for pizza in the area.

“We specialize in any kind of pizza, especially gourmet pizzas,” said Joseph, who recommends their chicken fajita and buffalo chicken pizzas. “Quality and service are really important to us. We would like every customer to experience great taste.”

With an excellent, well-rounded menu that includes Italian-styled dinners, a wide variety of sandwiches, subs, wraps & burgers, and - of course - pizza, Monte Carlo offers plenty of great taste for customers to experience.

“Our goal is to provide customers with the best food at the best prices around,” said Joseph. “It’s top quality food in a friendly, inviting atmosphere.”

The pizza menu is the heart of their offerings, including Neopolitan, Sicilian and white pizzas. The popular combination pizzas include Margherita, Vegetarian, Hawaiian Style, Meat Lover’s, The Works, Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Chicken, Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Chicken Fajita, Beef Fajita, Philly Cheesesteak and a Taco Pizza. Most pizzas are available as a small 12” or large 16”. Plain and Sicilian are also available by slice.

As good as the pizza is though, customers are short changing themselves if they don’t explore the rest of the menu.

Monte Carlo serves small and large subs and clubs, hot and cold. Cold subs include the classic Italian, Capicola & Cheese, Roast Beef & Cheese and more. The Hot Sub menu includes a number of favorites including the Sausage Italiano, Pizza Steak and the mouth-wateringly good Deluxe Cheesesteak, which comes loaded with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, pepperoni & cheese.

Salads, clubs, wraps, calzones, burgers, stromboli (try the Deluxe Boli with ham, salami, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers & mozzarella) fill out the rest of the menu, along with side orders that include fries, wings, mozzarella sticks, jalepeno poppers and more.

Monte Carlo’s is open for dine in and pick up only, seven days a week, and is located at 1885 Swamp Pike, Gilbertsville. Hours are 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Monday to Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Call 610-326-4501 for more information or to place an order for take-out. Family package coupons are currently available in their take-out menu.

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