Growing up in Jersey meant many things for me. My grandmother lived in Elkins Park (and later moved to Plymouth Meeting), and we would visit her often. During those visits, I would earmark certain things and places and always tuck them away in the back of my mind. Things like driving down I-95 to 276 and seeing the totem pole (which sadly, is no longer there) at Neshaminy Mall, driving down the Blvd by the old State Hospital (which gives me the heebee jeebee’s even now that it’s no longer standing) and stopping at Byberry Rd to buy a bag of soft pretzels from a guy who also sold roses.
There is another place from my childhood that has always stuck out in my mind (so much so that I still shop there), and that would be the Famous Deli (previously Stein Bros Famous Deli, now Steve Stein’s Famous Deli) in the Krewstown Shopping Center at Grant Avenue and Krewstown Road. I remember going there with my parents as early as 5 years old, and I am 26 now. It was the only place you could get fresh sliced corned beef and pastrami for $2.99-$3.99 a pound. They also had a bakery where you could get fresh baked schnecken, rugelah, and seeded rye bread. My parents would drive back to Jersey with loads of goodies (along with the pretzels we bought on the Blvd), and always bring back more on the next trips. It was just one of those things that I grew to miss when we finally moved away from the East Coast.
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Since I’ve been back, I make it a point to go to Famous. I remember when I brought my Philly-native husband there for the first time, and he raised his eyebrows at the fact that no one behind the slicers were wearing any gloves. I guess I had never noticed it before, but as a child I never questioned it. It was just something I was used to, even now (although as of recently, I guess they all have to wear gloves when slicing your meat). Regardless of that fact, Famous has become a staple of my life, and I couldn’t imagine it not being there.
We’ve partnered with Philly Love Notes to make sure you see all the love notes written about Northeast Philadelphia. Love notes about Northeast spots will be published here after they appear on the Philly Love Notes blog, curated by Emma Fried-Cassorla. Anyone can email love notes to phillylovenotes [AT] gmail.com and coordinate their photo opps with Fried-Cassorla. This post originally appeared on Philly Love Notes on Sept. 17 and is written by Esther Fox.