Warning: I am starving as I write this. More description than needed may be contained.
I went to visit my parents in Aston a few weekends ago. Thanks to a hoagie and cheesesteak group I follow on Facebook, I found LaSpada's. First, it's important to call out that this LaSpada's is not affiliated with other local spots of the same name in Parkside, Glen Mills or Chadds Ford.
Anyone watching Mare of Easttown? I'm channeling my inner "Mare" as I write about this "Best of Delco" establishment on Pennell Road. I will be making interesting "o" sounds to match hers but I will not do a review of a Wawa hoagie here although I've had more than my fair share. Oh, and I started calling people "smacked asses" again like Mare's mom. It's so fun! Back to the review.
LaSpada's has their menu online which I needed based on the vast variety of hoagies on their menu. They also have cheesesteaks, burgers, wraps, salads and other vittles. Gotta love a place that has two different menu sections for their hoagies (Classic and LaSpada Originals). They even have "travel hoagies" wrapped to withstand a long road trip. I guess I need to plan one!
It was a hard decision but I finally decided on three hoagies…for the family, I swear! I ordered the Old World, Italian Veggie and Forget-A-Bout-It. I couldn’t NOT order the Forget-A-Bout-It based on the name but wait until I walk you through the ingredients. I went with the large size since I was sharing with others that I deem "endless pits".
I wanted to order online or call, but neither options worked for me. Their phone line was busy, and I didn’t see an online ordering option. My hoagie anxiety heightened, worrying they were not open on Sundays but they were. FYI, they also deliver.
I found it quite unusual to find two Italian deli's in one strip of shops. I didn’t have my glasses on so I needed to do a slow drive by to find the right place. My eyes went to a sign that said "The Original" then noticed in smaller, cursive print "LaSpada's". I had made it.
Can anyone tell me the origin or meaning behind their logo? It looks like graffiti with a crying baby and a bottle. The significance is lost on me and the graffiti is really hard to read (did I mention that my day job is in marketing?).
I ordered directly at the counter. The staff was friendly and asked all the right questions as I placed my order. The shop was sparse, but I am assuming that is based on COVID restrictions. They had a number of booths along the wall with custom art of Philly sports teams above. I wasn’t in a hurry so I took a quick stroll through the shopping center, then my hoagies were ready.
HoagieLOVE Pro Tip: Park outside the big sign that says "The Original". That is the place!
Unwrapping/First Impression: It was a long five minute ride back to my parent's house based on the incredible mix of smells coming from the bag. To keep myself from tearing into the bag, I plotted out my plan for unwrapping and getting some good pics before my family descended upon them. Is it just an Italian thing where the family just grabs the food as you are trying to get them to the table? It's literally a defensive sport try to keep everything intact for a nice presentation of the grub.
Everything was wrapped tightly with barely any leakage. They just looked beautiful and enticing. I noticed they were very large and I worried I had over-ordered, but no such thing.
NOTICE: The primary focus will be on the Old World Italian with additional commentary on the two others.
Bread: Crusty, unseeded roll that was sturdy but not overwhelming. I did notice that one of the hoagies seemed much longer than the others, but all were larges. I secretly was happy the Old World Italian was the gigantic one. If you read my blogs, you should know that Italian Hoagies are life. I decided to cut these into smaller, shareable pieces, and the bread held things together well for me.
Condiments: Salt, pepper, oregano were added directly to the bread, as well as the oil and mayo. There may have been a touch to much mayo, as I did have a slip and fall (aka my contents popped out of the bread). I added my pickles and peppers which were on the side with little fanfare.
Meats & Cheese: The Old World Italian includes imported ham, hot capicola, genoa salami, pepper ham, prosciutto and sharp provolone. YUP, all of those things. You know why it fit? All of it was cut so paper thin. If you are not a prosciutto or sharp provolone lover, you can opt for the Italian Special that has regular provolone, no prosciutto.
Veggies: My usual - lettuce, tomato and onion - were all in attendance, on the top of the hoagie where I prefer them to be. The lettuce was chopped, not shredded, and I noticed the onion was lost, or maybe I should say, mingled in with the lettuce.
Reorganization Rating: The meats were dangling over the side but they were cut so thin, I didn’t need to tuck them in or reorganize it.
Eating Experience: I grabbed a piece (or two) of each hoagie. I was standing and eating, and I was able to do this effortlessly without feeling like I was going to have a hoagie explosion all over my shirt. Starting with the Old World, it was fabulous. For flavor, it had all the qualities you want to see in an authentic Italian hoagie - solid, crusty bread, enough condiments to enhance the flavor, the right meats the spice from the ham and cap, the fine flavor of prosciutto, and the slight sting of the stinky cheese.
The Italian Veggie (breaded eggplant, sharp provolone, broccoli rabe and roasted peppers) and Forget-A-Bout-It (chicken cutlets, sharp provolone and broccoli rabe) had similar qualities based on their ingredients. What stood out to me was the thin cut eggplant and chicken and how they were cooked to golden brown perfection. I don’t know if I use enough oil when I make these, but mine are not golden brown. Feel free to school me in the Comments on how to do this right. Wat's the secret? The broccoli rabe was not overwhelming, which it can be if too much is on the hoagie or if too much garlic is added while cooking. The sharp provolone added that same awesomeness it adds to a traditional Italian hoagie.
Next meal survival rate: Insufficient information. We ate it all. Being Italian, the hoagies were a "nice add-on" to an already planned meal of appetizers, roasted pork, potato salad, and I'm sure there was more. There was even a homemade strawberry shortcake that my mom made to celebrate my dad's 2nd anniversary of having both knees replaced. There's always a reason to have a gathering (of double vaxed people), eat food and make a cake. I had to include a picture of the cake for your viewing and smiling pleasure.
Overall happiness rating: Wow, new options near my parents place. I love options. This place is legit, and I would highly recommend it. Looking back at the pics just made me want to take a drive over there. Classics, veggie, chicken cutlet, American, Nigerian (*) - you name it, they have a hoagie for it.
LaSpada's is one of those unassuming places in a shopping center that becomes your favorite secret spot. Be sure to check it out!
*Anyone ever hear of a Nigerian hoagie? Turkey, roast beef and provolone? Feel free to leave a comment. Should I try it? I don’t really like Turkey.
4724 Pennell Road
Aston, PA 19014