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A. Litteri, Old-School Italian Deli, Market, and Sub Shop at the Florida Avenue Market near NoMa - Founded in 1926


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Litteri's is definitely better. I could have sworn Kanishka posted something a few years ago trying various places looking for the best subs, but a search doesn't bring it up. I must be imagining it :lol:.

You're not. It was Metro Week on WAMU, I think. They ended up with Mangialardo's in DC, Italian Store in VA, and Santucci's (???) in MD (Four Corners in Silver Spring) as the finalists for best sub in the DC area. I forget who finally won. Personally I've tried them all and I think they all are good, but that's just MHO. Anyway Litteri's wasn't in contention, and I agree with them and disagree with you. I think anybody who goes into Litteri's is taking a risk. Looks very questionable to me.

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You're not. It was Metro Week on WAMU, I think. They ended up with Mangialardo's in DC, Italian Store in VA, and Santucci's (???) in MD (Four Corners in Silver Spring) as the finalists for best sub in the DC area. I forget who finally won. Personally I've tried them all and I think they all are good, but that's just MHO. Anyway Litteri's wasn't in contention, and I agree with them and disagree with you. I think anybody who goes into Litteri's is taking a risk. Looks very questionable to me.
I think the thing I'm thinking of was something else, but it's been too long even to have more than a vague memory.

And do you mean go in there at all (something to do with the physical structure) or eat the food? I've never had any bad experience with the subs or the deli meats. I buy grocery-type things in there sometimes too. The only thing I've ever really been disappointed in was a premade half-sub I bought from the cooler. It was soggy. I wasn't extremely hungry, but I also didn't want to wait in the long line to get one made.

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And do you mean go in there at all (something to do with the physical structure) or eat the food? I've never had any bad experience with the subs or the deli meats. I buy grocery-type things in there sometimes too. The only thing I've ever really been disappointed in was a premade half-sub I bought from the cooler. It was soggy. I wasn't extremely hungry, but I also didn't want to wait in the long line to get one made.
Elaborate? What type of risk do you think we take by entering this establishment?
Have you ever been to Litteri's or are you judging from "looks"?

Well, I didn't mean to create a mini-firestorm. Perhaps I overstated. Yes I have been in there a few times, although it's been a while since I no longer have the pleasure of living in DC. Mostly I used to go to Best Kitchenware so I'd sometimes poke my head in Litteri while in the 'hood. I recall occasionally examining the pull dates on some of their groceries such as olive oils and finding them severely past date (and dusty). I recall at least once having a sandwich from the deli, and no it didn't make me sick but I didn't think it was anything special either. Maybe just my bad luck? I don't recall ever seeing a long line, but to be fair I probably was never there at noontime. I got the feeling that their day was past, and the turnover had slowed severely. Generally, my take was that it just didn't stand up to the reputation it seems to have. But like any such establishment I'm sure if you are careful what you select you will find some worthwhile things.

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I recall occasionally examining the pull dates on some of their groceries such as olive oils and finding them severely past date (and dusty).
Yeah. I also check the dates and avoid the dusty stuff. It's hard to gauge their turnover on the grocery products, but dust is generally not a positive sign.
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I've eaten at Litteri's multiple times over the past 2 years. It's pretty good, but I don't think it's better than what I've had at the Italian Store. And I grew up on fantastic subs/hoagies in the Philly area [i'm pretty picky about subs].

If you're in the District [& especially in the Cap Hill/Eastern Market area], by all means stop here for a good sub. As my own preference, I personally would trek out to Italian Store.

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Went here today for the first time and sampled their version of an Italian Cold Cut sub, albeit not on a hard roll (next time!) and shared it with my wife. I was hoping to have a better experience than I did at the Bethesda Vace and I was not let down. Very nice flavors and at least four different meats in proper quantities relative to the bread. Nicely seasoned and they used good oil, too. Only let down was not enough onions to my own personal tastes but this s nitpicking.

I'd like to try their meatballs next time, too.

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I stopped here for the first time a couple weekends ago. The place is chock full of stuff and it's fun to poke around. I especially liked their deli case (variety of Italian and non-Italian meats and cheeses) and freezer section (packed with frozen pastas and such made in Bmore). Also a nice selection of wines. The prices are steep but you can find some deals, especially on things that aren't easily found elsewhere (Italian wines). They have loads of assorted jarred things - jams, jellies, relishes, olives, italian sauces, condiments, olive oils, vinegars. Instant risotto mixes (yeah yeah freshly made risotto is so much better but this stuff cooks in 15 minutes and tastes pretty good and is easy dinner with a kid). We picked up some frozen lasagnas, instant risotto, several bottles of wine, some cold cuts and an Italian hoagie out of the refrigerator case. The sandwich was loaded with meat, bread held up, good flavor. It is worth a long drive? Maybe once to see the old school small grocery/deli still in action, but my standby for Italian products is Vace. I'd head to A Litteri if I was in the neighborhood or checking out the Flea Market nearby. If you've never been, the area around Litteri is home to a bunch of Korean, Chinese, Jamaican, and other wholesale establishments, in addition to the oldest DC Farmers Market. The Farmers Market is a sad little place but there are a couple butchers in there that are worth the trip.

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28 minutes ago, Pool Boy said:

Are these guys still there? I need to swing by the next time we go to Union Market. They have some pretty cool stuff for a good bit cheaper than the stuff at Union Market.

Yep.

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2 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

Are these guys still there? 

Yes, and still going strong. I got a 3 foot sub from them for our Memorial Day get-together, and it was very delicious. While I was down here I had to do some other shopping (of course) and came home with some great stuff. And they have expanded their Saturday hours!

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8 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

Are these guys still there? I need to swing by the next time we go to Union Market. They have some pretty cool stuff for a good bit cheaper than the stuff at Union Market.

A. Litteri is very much a contemporary of Wagshal's: A. Litteri was founded in 1926, and has been in its present location since 1932; Wagshal's was founded in 1925, and has been in its present location since 1939.

I don't know why it wasn't in the Oldest Restaurants in the Washington, DC Area list (probably because it doesn't have seating), but I put it in there anyway - why not?

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14 hours ago, DonRocks said:

A. Litteri is very much a contemporary of Wagshal's: A. Litteri was founded in 1926, and has been in its present location since 1932; Wagshal's was founded in 1925, and has been in its present location since 1939.

I don't know why it wasn't in the Oldest Restaurants in the Washington, DC Area list (probably because it doesn't have seating), but I put it in there anyway - why not?

I honestly had no idea they had been there as long as that. It's always an adventure trying to navigate that store. And you never quite know what you are going to find either.

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We  we’re disappointed by the subs we got here this weekend. My eggplant Parm,  which previously was the standard breaded deep-fried eggplant with slices of cheese and tomato sauce was instead baked or panfried non- breaded slices of eggplant  with the shake of grated Parmesan and scant amount of sauce on it, and the whole was squashed w griddle marks, like it had been in a panini press ( though not that flat). Husbands chicken parm was similar with naked chicken instead of eggplant. Anyone else have a similar experience or did we just get unlucky?

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13 minutes ago, eatruneat said:

The new owner, Ken, passed away on Thanksgiving. So sad. We were just there chatting to him about olive oil. 

So Ken was the gentleman who knew about Italian wines, and A. Litteri has transferred ownership a second time this year?

(My deepest condolences to Ken, his family, and his friends.)

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16 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

So Ken was the gentleman who knew about Italian wines, and A. Litteri has transferred ownership a second time this year?

(My deepest condolences to Ken, his family, and his friends.)

I think Ken bought the store from the original owners in late 2018/early 2019, but I don't think it transferred ownership a second time after the original owners sold it. 

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On 3/27/2020 at 4:22 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Thought it might give each other ideas based on where and what you're ordering for take-out or delivery.  

I stopped at A. LItteri for some groceries the other day. Pasta is well stocked, as is olive oil, as is the deli counter. Sandwiches also available. Not crowded, very clean, and they have yeast, flour, wine, frozen and fresh pasta. 

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On 5/7/2020 at 9:37 PM, saf said:

I stopped at A. LItteri for some groceries the other day. Pasta is well stocked, as is olive oil, as is the deli counter. Sandwiches also available. Not crowded, very clean, and they have yeast, flour, wine, frozen and fresh pasta. 

Nice - I might need to swing by for a special wine run. I was impressed with their change of selection of late.

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Like most in this thread, I have had overwhelmingly positive experiences at Litteris, but today was an unfortunate exception.  Not in the mood for an Italian sub (more specifically, the heartburn that follows), I opted for the Gyro today for a quick takeout after shopping at Trader Joe's.  At $10 this is a small sandwich, but that's not what was disturbing.  This catastrophe was basically a cheap pito, frozen gyro meat, and an overabundance of tzatziki, canned olives, and discolored lettuce and tomatoes.  Unwrapping the foil, this thing was a mess; it had soaked through the paper wrapping inside and fell apart with every bite.  I made it about 3 bites in and threw the rest in the trash, which I almost never do as I hate wasting food.  An anomaly for sure, but at the prices they charge at this place, they either need to do better or take things off the menu that they don't want to take care in making.

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