Wesley’s Delicatessen, in Downtown, has all the makings of a long-established neighborhood deli. The staff is friendly and has an easy familiarity with customers. The menu features deli sandwiches and salads, along with an assortment of traditional sides like Italian Wedding soup and farfalle pasta salad. And yet, the venue has only been open for about three years.
“Equally as important as food is creating that comfortable environment and having some kind of personality, instead of just being a machine,” says deli co-owner Wesley Ross. “And I think that’s one of the reasons people come back. We have great food, but it’s also about being friendly, learning people’s names.”
But charm isn’t the only thing creating the old-timey atmosphere at Wesley’s. The deli is located in Downtown’s old Bank Tower building, so the shop’s storeroom sits in an old safe, and the safe-deposit box rooms serve as storage closets.
“I have a lot of respect for this building,” says Ross. “It’s great to see the old architecture.”
Wesley’s menu features more than 20 sandwiches named for Pittsburgh neighborhoods, streets and buildings. The East Ender is the most popular sandwich (smoked turkey breast, cheddar cheese, two strips of bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo).
“Some of these sandwiches I haven’t had since we opened,” says Ross. “And then I’ll try them, and say, ‘Wow, that’s good.’”
Ross says that first-timers usually go for the Bloomfield Italian Beef (shaved steak grilled with sautéed mushrooms, onions, provolone cheese, American cheese and mayo) or the Strip District (hard salami, sopressata, capicola, ham, provolone, banana-pepper rings, lettuce, tomato and garlic aioli).
And during City Paper’s interview, that prediction proved true when a new customer ordered the Strip District. “I just know,” Ross said.
307 Fourth Ave., Downtown. 412-281-3354