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Bozzelli's Italian Deli - Family-Owned, Local Chain in Several Area Locations


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I spend a lot of satisfying times in Bozzelli's and I think it belongs in the dining guide. It is a family-owned and operated deli with a seating area on Alban Road in Springfield -- Backlick runs from Annandale to Springfield, changes its name to Alban roughly at the big oil tanks across I-95S, and then changes its name to Pohick when it crosses Rolling Road into Lorton and Fairfax Station.

Bozzelli's menu includes some of the best subs in the DC area. They have a few "signatures" like the Metro (basically an Italian hoagie), the absolutely decadent Pepperoni, Steak and Cheese, the Senator (Italian cheeseburger) and many more, all of which I can tell you are as good as any in the northern Virginia 'burbs....at least this side of the Italian Store. What finally drove me to write them up was the best breakfast sandwich I've had in a long time -- ham, egg, cheese, peppers and ketchup on an 8" pressed Italian bun. Man, was that good...!

And on Fridays in Lent, there isn't a better 12" tuna salad sub anywhere.

Bozzelli's also offers salads, a few pasta dishes, fresh-made desserts and unusually good pizza. They also have cooking classes on the occasional Wednesday evening, where Mama puts on some displays of excellent Italian cooking.

http://springfield.bozzellideli.com/

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Just about everywhere I go in Virginia or DC, if it's lunchtime and I see a Cuban sandwich on the menu, I have to try it. At its best, it's in the sandwich hall of fame. All too often, it fails to compare with the standards I've tasted across Florida. The best examples I've tried around here are at Blue Iguana in Fair Lakes and Acadiana downtown, but the latter was a special. Now it's available at Bozzelli's, and it's not bad.

The Bozzelli's version takes a regular sub roll, which are actually pretty good here, and layers folded slices of ham over thick slices of roasted pork, a mild white cheese and sandwich pickles (a bit too sharp) and a mustard-mayo sauce, then presses the sub roll in a sandwich iron. They don't slather the roll with butter or oil, thankfully, but it also creates a certain dryness that I don't mind because it spares the extra oiliness.

Overall, I liked it, but I'm still looking for a version that surpasses the Blue Iguana or Acadiana.

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I spend a lot of satisfying times in Bozzelli's and I think it belongs in the dining guide. It is a family-owned and operated deli with a seating area on Alban Road in Springfield -- Backlick runs from Annandale to Springfield, changes its name to Alban roughly at the big oil tanks across I-95S, and then changes its name to Pohick when it crosses Rolling Road into Lorton and Fairfax Station.

Bozzelli's menu includes some of the best subs in the DC area. They have a few "signatures" like the Metro (basically an Italian hoagie), the absolutely decadent Pepperoni, Steak and Cheese, the Senator (Italian cheeseburger) and many more, all of which I can tell you are as good as any in the northern Virginia 'burbs....at least this side of the Italian Store. What finally drove me to write them up was the best breakfast sandwich I've had in a long time -- ham, egg, cheese, peppers and ketchup on an 8" pressed Italian bun. Man, was that good...!

And on Fridays in Lent, there isn't a better 12" tuna salad sub anywhere.

Bozzelli's also offers salads, a few pasta dishes, fresh-made desserts and unusually good pizza. They also have cooking classes on the occasional Wednesday evening, where Mama puts on some displays of excellent Italian cooking.

http://springfield.bozzellideli.com/

Why is it so hard to find a good sub in this area? The Italian Store does them well, but I cannot think of many other places. I had high hopes for this place and checked it out for lunch yesterday. The place was packed with folks streaming in and order taking and filling was rather efficient. Of course being packed does not really mean much, take everyone's favorite Cheesecake Factory.

I ordered a "signature" Metro (large) and a slice of carrot cake since I am sucker for that. The Metro (Italian Cold-Cut with ham, salami, capicolla, mortadella & provolone) was made with a skimpy amount of run of the mill sandwich meats. The bread was a super soft white sub roll that was nothing special. The sandwich was saved by the hot peppers and it could have used more Italian dressing as it was rather dry.

The carrot cake was good, but the frosting was way too sweet. They also used too much of the warm spices so it tasted more like a spice cake, but I enjoy spice cake so no problems. :lol:

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I really miss the Bozzelli's that was in the Ft. Belvoir Home & Garden Center- I used to stop by & get the perfect cheese sub, loads of cheese, lettuce, tomato-I'd order it plain & go home & slap on my own salsa/mayo-the place that replaced it is lame, they don't have any kind of cheese sub....actually eating almost anywhere on post is kind of bad, although to be fair, I haven't tried the lunch buffets at the gold course or the officers' club...

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Why is it so hard to find a good sub in this area? The Italian Store does them well, but I cannot think of many other places. I had high hopes for this place and checked it out for lunch yesterday. The place was packed with folks streaming in and order taking and filling was rather efficient. Of course being packed does not really mean much, take everyone's favorite Cheesecake Factory.

I ordered a "signature" Metro (large) and a slice of carrot cake since I am sucker for that. The Metro (Italian Cold-Cut with ham, salami, capicolla, mortadella & provolone) was made with a skimpy amount of run of the mill sandwich meats. The bread was a super soft white sub roll that was nothing special. The sandwich was saved by the hot peppers and it could have used more Italian dressing as it was rather dry.

The carrot cake was good, but the frosting was way too sweet. They also used too much of the warm spices so it tasted more like a spice cake, but I enjoy spice cake so no problems. :lol:

I agree wholeheartedly.

Like pizza, I get that people may have different tastes. Yet, most would agree that pizza hut pales in comparison to most any made with fresh, quality ingredients.

So too with Italian subs, except that good subs are fairly few and far between. Good pizza is

For my money, Subway subs are horrible, and places like Sheetz are worse. And of course 7-11 will sell you a sub wrapped in celophane and made sometime earlier this week. On the plus side, my benchmark are the subs from Ollies and the Twinbrook Deli in Rockville. Across the street from each other, at one time they both made "wicked good" cold cut subs. I also like the new Pasquales in Damascus, MD. In the middle somewhere is Rubino's in Herndon. I've had many others, all forgettable.

In the spirit of more, I hereby offer my 10 commandments of a good Italian Cold Cut sub:

  1. Decent meat: My favorite branded meat is Boars Head, followed by Dietz and Watson. Regardless, it has to has some quality and moisture. Low quality meat can't be corrected.
  2. Moisture. The best ingredients aren't edible if the sub is dry. Moisture comes from the oil and vinegar, the meat, the lettuce/tomato, a careful limit in the amount of bread and even possibly mayo.
  3. Bread. There's some leeway here, but the key is that the bread plays a supporting role and should be fresh and tasty but not too much in terms of flavor, texture or quantity. If the loaves have a bit too much heft, then hollow them out first.
  4. Cheese. Same with the cheese. It should complement and not dominate.
  5. Pride. It should be a menu item, not a luck of the draw where you are left to choose ingredients and to hope you craft a proper sub. The menu item should be stated, and if you want to customize, it will be to subtract from the menu ideal.
  6. Zing. Hot or banana peppers - should be present, but left to you to maybe go light or heavy. But every good sub should have a little zing to it.
  7. Lettuce - it ain't a salad. Lettuce is fine, and shredded is fine. But don't give me a head of shredded lettuce and call it a sub.
  8. The paper - wrap it in something that can absorb some moisture and act as a kind of plate. If the sub is still good 4 hours later, it probably isn't made right, see #2 above and make it moister.
  9. The build - There's a proper order to building the sub - I've always prefered the meat to be the first thing on the bread (except maybe oil or mayo), so it is tasted first. My opinion is that the cheese should NOT be on the outside.
  10. The presentation - Just make subs, sell beer, maybe some sodas and chips. It doesn't have to be fancy or even advertised.

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As a special today, Bozzelli's is offering the Cubano at their Springfield location.

I love a good Cubano, and as an aside, I loved the Jon Favreau movie "Chef" last year partly because the Cuban sandwich was part of the plot. In the past, I've had Cubano pretenders, with pulled pork instead of roast pork.

The Cubano at Bozzelli's today is near-perfect, with roast pork, a slab of ham, nice cheese, zesty mustard and crisp pickle. Very nice, for a chilly winter day. Very nice.

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I've eaten at both Bozzellis & Jacalito, but this place is really off to a good start- it's small, but comfortable & nicely decorated, the gentleman who was handling everything at lunch (& it got busy pretty quickly) was very nice, explained all the specials to us, & managed to keep everyone happy (it was like watching an expert juggler, just a joy to see such good service). As a side note on Bozzellis, I go to the one on Ft. Belvoir, but the last 3 times I've gone, they've screwed up my order (& I get takeout, so I don't discover until I'm home), so I'm going on hiatus.

Is there a Bozzellis post I can put this on? Because I order a very simple sub, 12" cheese delight (i save half for a second meal, they put on a lot of cheese), lettuce, tomato, black olives, DRY-no mayo or oil (because I add my own salsa mayo at home). First screwup was the worst- I was getting ready to go on vacation, so I had been eating down my stores at home for awhile, had almost no food left, ordered, came home & found a ham sandwich/sub. Called & complained, they told me I could come in & get another one, but I didn't want to drive back- dogs got a ham sub. Second time, there was mayo (which made it soggy & gross) & 3rd time (this kills me, cause I checked it in the car & it looked ok) there was onion (which blended w/ the iceberg lettuce). This sounds like a bad sitcom plot/Seinfeld episode (or maybe I'm just obsessing over nothing), & these were spread out over a couple of months- long enough to forget, but not enough to just capitulate.

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Is there a Bozzellis post I can put this on? Because I order a very simple sub, 12" cheese delight (i save half for a second meal, they put on a lot of cheese), lettuce, tomato, black olives, DRY-no mayo or oil (because I add my own salsa mayo at home). First screwup was the worst- I was getting ready to go on vacation, so I had been eating down my stores at home for awhile, had almost no food left, ordered, came home & found a ham sandwich/sub. Called & complained, they told me I could come in & get another one, but I didn't want to drive back- dogs got a ham sub. Second time, there was mayo (which made it soggy & gross) & 3rd time (this kills me, cause I checked it in the car & it looked ok) there was onion (which blended w/ the iceberg lettuce). This sounds like a bad sitcom plot/Seinfeld episode (or maybe I'm just obsessing over nothing), & these were spread out over a couple of months- long enough to forget, but not enough to just capitulate.

Not only is there a post, but I now realize there are four locations, and the original location (Fort Belvoir) opened in 1978, making this one of the Oldest Restaurants in the Washington, DC Area.

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We on this site often extol the virtues of the Mom-and-Pop family-run restaurant, where we find refuge from the corporate indifference of the large chains.

My nephew's wife and daughters are involved in Brownies or Girl Scouts or whatever....they were looking for a merit badge in the area of cooking this year, so I called Mina Bozzelli and asked if they could arrange something at the Springfield restaurant. I lost track of the situation, but a few weeks ago, I see a Facebook ย post about Mama Bozzelli having done a nice pizza-making class for the Girl Scouts. A dozen young ladies will never forget the experience, and I will never stop patronizing this family-run restaurant.

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I guess I need to give Bozzelli's another try because I did the pepperoni cheesesteak at the Lorton shop and it was terrible. Since the Italian Shop in Belle Haven folded, I've been getting my Italian sub at Sherwood Gourmet, another mom & pop shop. Not as good as Italian Store or Mangialardo's or Litteri's, but it hits the spot and I don't have to drive an hour.

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On 11/18/2015 at 7:18 AM, Kibbee Nayee said:

We on this site often extol the virtues of the Mom-and-Pop family-run restaurant, where we find refuge from the corporate indifference of the large chains.

My nephew's wife and daughters are involved in Brownies or Girl Scouts or whatever....they were looking for a merit badge in the area of cooking this year, so I called Mina Bozzelli and asked if they could arrange something at the Springfield restaurant. I lost track of the situation, but a few weeks ago, I see a Facebook ย post about Mama Bozzelli having done a nice pizza-making class for the Girl Scouts. A dozen young ladies will never forget the experience, and I will never stop patronizing this family-run restaurant.

I can't say enough about this local family-operated gem. I live in Springfield, maybe 1.5 miles from the Alban Rd. flagship, so I grab food from there often. Because they deliver, we occasionally can throw a simple event by ordering catering from Bozzelli's. Last night we ordered the pan of lasagna (feeds 15-20) and it was excellent. Imagine an Italian grandmother in the kitchen -- because that's who Mama Bozzelli is -- cooking a perfect dish of lasagna for her family. That's what we had last night, and it was scarfed down and praised by all.ย 

Their pizza is also better than any delivery chain, by far. I can't say enough about this place.

(Also to be noted is that the small strip on Alban Rd. has the recently WaPo-reviewed Afghan Bistro, and the under-rated Jacalito char-broiled chicken, creating multiple tasty options within steps of each other.)

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Michael Bozzelli is making the Alban Road flagship a special place for a good meal. And occasionally something interesting happens:

๐Ÿšจ๐Ÿšจ๐Ÿšจ SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Food Dude USA ๐Ÿ’ฅ WILL BE FILMING ๐ŸŽฅ AT ALBAN RD, Fri 8/23 // stay tuned for info about killer deals๐Ÿ•, beer ๐Ÿบ tasting & live music ๐ŸŽธon that day ๐Ÿ™Œ

Food Dude is an interesting concept on the YouTube platform.

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