Pop's Deli

Deli Heaven

On the advice of friends and fellow foodies, I ventured out to Hickory Hill for lunches at Pop's Deli. Initially, my goal was finding another great burger to add to my list of favorite burger joints, but I eventually discovered an amazing sandwich. Although Pop's is a bit out of my Downtown/Midtown comfort zone, I'm glad that I took the time to dine there.

The sandwich chosen on my second visit (influenced by a review from the blog Tiffany Tastes) was The Chilean. It can come with either beef (steak) or chicken, along with guacamole, Chilean hot sauce, tomatoes, Muenster cheese and surprisingly, marinated string beans. The last ingredient isn't something that I would put in a sandwich, but it goes great with The Chilean. In the sandwich I had, the string beans (along with the guacamole) provided most of the flavor. The mildly spicy hot sauce provided additional zest to the cheesy steak sandwich that resulted in a unique experience. By the way, Pop's choice of Ciabatta bread meshed nicely while holding everything together, unlike the bun of the cheeseburger that I had earlier. To sum it up, The Chilean is a great sandwich that I recommend to anyone looking for something different yet tasty.

I'm glad that I made a second trip to Pop's, for my initial impression wasn't entirely good. As I said earlier, my primary reason for visiting Pop's was for its hamburgers. In making my selection from the deli's list of burgers, I chose something based on one of its signature sandwiches. In choosing the Philly Burger, I hoped to get the essence of Pop's Famous Philly while enjoying a great burger. From the standpoint of taste, the provolone burger (with onions and mushrooms) had the characteristics associated with a classic Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Unfortunately, I agreed to have it "loaded" with mayo, ketchup and mustard that severely weakened the bun. After a couple of bites, the bun disintegrated and I was left with a gooey mess. This is not to say that it was terrible, for it was the opposite of that. In fact, it was so good that it distracted me from evidencing the catastrophe of my burger. The takeaway from this is if I order the Philly Burger again, I will get it without the "loaded" extras (but with bell peppers) for a true "Philly" experience. As far as it making my list, the Philly Burger falls short of that but gets an honorable mention.
Because it is a deli, Pop's sells meats and cheeses from Boar's Head by the pound for those looking to make sandwiches at home. I probably won't take advantage of It because of the distance from both home and work, but I will a get a Famous Philly on my next visit. Based on the sandwiches that I had from Pop's, I'm confident that it will rival some of my favorite places like Broadway Pizza. I can't wait to have one!

UPDATE (April 15, 2014): Since my initial visits, I've returned to Pop's for its Famous Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Unfortunately, the sandwich wasn't as cheesy as its burger counterpart and was a dud by comparison. With all the praise that it gets, I expected more from a Philly that many say is the best in Memphis. My opinion might be in the minority but I will still declare Broadway Pizza House as my Bluff City favorite. If I get Pop's Famous Philly again, I will ask for additional provolone as a topping for the sandwich. If the deli can make it as cheesy as the Philly Burger, I might change my opinion of it. By the way, everything else in the cheesesteak sandwich (meat, green peppers, onions) were prepared right which made for a decent Philly.

The service is good, although the dining area is small (four tables) and stays full during weekday hours. The orders don't take long to fulfill, so a diner might have to get his/her food to go if waiting isn't an option.
Based on the sandwiches that I had, I'm safe in saying that Pop's Deli is excellent. The food (despite its cheap hamburger bun) is great and will have me coming back for more.

UPDATE (April 15, 2014): Pop's has moved into space next to its original location that is nearly doubles its size. This is a good thing, because the wait times are shorter which leads to better service.

Website: www.PopsPhillyShop.com


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