Best: Parkway Deli & Restaurant
8317 Grubb Road, Silver Spring, (301) 587-1427
2nd Best: Taylor Gourmet
1116 H St. NE, (202) 684-7001
Last year’s Best of D.C. was all about “Celebrating the Classics,” and with that theme in mind, no honoree was more deserving than Parkway Deli & Restaurant. A Silver Spring establishment for more than 40 years, this restaurant has it all, from breakfast quesadillas, to bagels and lox, to potato latkes, to cheesecake and every other deli dessert imaginable—plus a complimentary pickle bar! Taylor Gourmet on H Street, unfortunately, doesn’t provide that old-timey charm. From the outside, it greets you with a sign made of chic worn wood. It’s an odd contrast to the damp, dank, nondecorative wood boarding up nearby vacant properties elsewhere on the strip. The deli also plays up its Philadelphia roots with sandwich names like the “Schuylkill Expressway” (a hoagie with prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and sharp provolone) and the “Chestnut Street” (a hoagie with Genoa salami, pepper shooters, and mozzarella). But the restaurant’s white, sterile environment screams San Francisco or Seattle cool. Where are the dangling sausages? What about that fun-loving, open-arms, Italian attitude? In the end though, that’s all aesthetics. Truth is: Taylor delivers a delicious, authentic sandwich. Every day, a D.C.-based driver makes the trip to Sarcone’s Bakery in Philadelphia for bread. Owners Casey Patten and David Mazza wouldn’t have it any other way: “If we weren’t going to be able to get the bread, we weren’t going to open the deli,” says Patten. “We tried local bakeries. No one could come up with a roll that was even half as good.” They begged the bakery for seven months to carry their products—and Taylor is the only place outside the Philadelphia area to do so. Most of the 12-inch hoagies are roughly $7 to $9. Philly’s too far for most; the least you could do is drive out to H Street and pick up one.