Philadelphia may be famous for the hoagie, but for a taste of the little-known regional sandwich the Zep, Mod Betty is sending you to Lou’s Sandwich Shop in Norristown, PA. The Zep was invented in Norristown, and Lou's is famous for theirs.
Located on busy East Main Street since 1941, you can’t miss Lou's iconic logo - a wide mawed gent requesting someone to “Please Pass Me Those Delicious Sandwiches…” - I hope in all these years someone has!
A Zep is like a hoagie (sub, sandwich) but is only made with cooked salami, a thick slice of onion, tomato, oil and oregano, served on a “Conshy roll” (local bread roll from the Conshohocken Bakery.)
Or you can go rogue and try it with a different meat. Maybe you want to a bit more pep in your zep? "Hoagie spread" made with spicy hot peppers is available at your table.
Doesn't sound like your cuppa tea? Mod Betty understands, as that slab of onion is quite a commitment, but there are plenty of other choices on the menu at Lou's. Cheesesteaks and hoagies of course, but also soups, salads, fries and pizza. They even make milkshakes made on a classic Hamilton Beach mixer!
POP QUIZ! Is This A Zep?
(Answer at the end)
At Lou's you have your seating choice of stool at the counter, or booth seating at the narrow wooden booths. I love the curves of their tubular steel construction, the mirrors and coat racks, and plenty of Lou's ephemera to look at. Heading back towards the booths on the “balcony” you’ll likely spy brothers Lou and Charles Alba busy behind the grill and yet engaged in friendly banter with folks at the counter. Their grandfather started the business and they’re the last of the family line to keep the tradition going.
Speaking of tradition, you’ll quickly realize that a visit to Lou’s for a Zep is a tradition, from locals arriving for their daily lunch fix, to folks who have moved away, returning for a taste of back home. Do yourself a favor and try one of those delicious sandwiches, won’t you?
No, that is not a Zep! You can tell because it has lettuce on it, and more than one kind of meat. This is an equally delicious Italian Hoagie.