Chiocca’s Deli & Bar
by Anne Jones
Are you there, God? It’s me, Anne. Please don’t ever take Chiocca’s away.
Please don’t let fate, or progress, or zoning, or innovation, or expansion, or property sales, or rent increase, or slow business, or VCU, or anyone’s bright ideas change a single thing about it. Keep it dark. Keep the mismatched chairs and old black and white mosaic tile floor. Keep every single picture that’s been around for 60 years, without a hint of nostalgia. Keep the awkward bathroom arrangement. Keep all the signs exactly the same, especially the one that said “No soup for you” but was then covered up. Keep the menu. Keep the shrimp salad on the menu even though you haven’t served it for years. Keep the no-questions-asked vibe when you walk through the door.
Most of all, keep the fare exactly the same. We don’t need no stinkin’ salads. We need big nicely browned sub rolls. We need good ole NY-deli style sandwiches, with liverwurst, knockwurst, pastrami. We need a sandwich called The Dagwood and a sub called The Cold Cut, served hot. We do need Italian dressing and LTO on every sandwich. We need the pickle and chips with every sandwich. We need potato salad. We need a big fountain Coke with ice and the sign that says “Where Friends Meet.”
We need one place in this whole complicated city to stay the same. No improvements, no changes, just a hole-in-the-wall refuge with no pretense and tasty sandwiches done perfectly, and beer. Open every day from 11:30 – midnight. Since 1952. A few steps down off Belmont Ave. We’ll be right there.
Chiocca’s Deli and Bar
425 Belmont Avenue