Head to Vanelli’s for Sandwiches and Socialization
For the past few years, my friend John has eaten lunch at a small Italian restaurant in Germantown called Vanelli’s Deli on a weekly basis. When he suggested it for lunch yesterday, I had to go – he had told me about the sandwiches and ravioli and the friendly staff.
Alas, they were sold out of the ravioli yesterday. Instead, I had a hot sausage sandwich in a bowl instead of on bread. All of Vanelli’s hot sandwiches can be served in a bowl, but be warned – you’re pretty much ordering a big bowl of meat. Whatever – my big bowl of meat was awesome. The spicy sausage chunks came covered in marinara sauce. I had a few bites of John’s Italian Spinach, which was superb – not too cheesy or mushy (so often, Italian spinach seems so far removed from being a vegetable, and I loved that that wasn’t the case).
Vanelli’s is family owned, and chances are, if you’ve eaten there more than once, they probably know your family. The staff greeted John by name as soon as we walked in, and then immediately started sizing me up.
Apparently, it’s the first time he’s ever brought a girl (albeit, not a girlfriend) to eat there. Which means that his parents are going to hear about it, because they’re there more often than he is. Which means that I now have a wee bit of a complex. Like, maybe I should have showered yesterday or answered one of the counter guy’s many questions better.
But it’s not often that you find a place where the people remember your name and what you like to eat. The familiarity wasn’t limited to us – everyone in the restaurant seemed to know at least one other person there.
The space is super casual (I’m pretty sure half of the tables are actually lawn furniture), and the food is fairly inexpensive, with huge half-sandwiches running about $8.