As soon as you enter DeFalco’s Italian Eatery, Grocery & Deli, you feel as if you stepped from Scottsdale into a New York City deli. Shelves packed with imported sauces, dried pastas, quality olive oil, and more stretch along the L-shaped space. Tables are crammed into any open space and spill out to the patio along Scottsdale Road. And, of course, there’s a glass case deli counter filled with dried sausages, freshly sliced meats, pasta salads, and rich desserts.
It’s about as authentic as it can get—just ask Guy Fieri who said it rivaled most New York City delis he’s visited when he filmed an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” here. His favorite dishes? The Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and onions and the Centurion calzone made with two layers of mozzarella and sliced sopressatta.
Ironically, DeFalco’s traces its roots to Toronto and not New York. John DeFalco immigrated from Abuzzi, Italy, in 1903 and opened the first DeFalco’s Grocery in Toronto. After a few years, he moved to DeFalco moved to Michigan where he met and married Dora DeAngelis, who had immigrated to the United States from Rome. Together, they opened a neighborhood tavern, the Venezia Inn.
At the Venezia Inn, Dora served homemade pastas topped with the sauce her grandmother taught her to make while John began making sausages the way his father did back in Italy. These are the same recipes they use today at DeFalco’s today.
When John and Dora decided to retire, they moved to Phoenix. Their son, Jerry, and his wife, Judith, followed them and decided to open the current DeFalco’s in 1972. Today, their son, Anthony, carries on the tradition of using the fresh, high quality ingredients and treating everyone like they’re part of the DeFalco family.
In addition to hot and cold sandwiches, the menu includes calzones, pizza, and Italian dishes like chicken parmigiana and cheese and meat ravioli. Arrive hungry: the portions are huge. Two people can easily split a full order of pasta, a calzone, or even a sandwich.
Beverages run the gamut from the typical soft drink to Lavazza coffee, Italian sodas, bottled beer, and wine by the glass. Or, as you stand in line, grab a bottle of wine from the shelf to your left and ask for glasses when you pay for your meal.
Finish your meal with a flaky cannoli filled with ricotta, diced cherries, and chocolate chunks. Or, split a slice of mascarpone Limoncello cake.
DeFalco’s is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It’s located on Scottsdale Road, just south of Thomas Road, across from the Smart & Final.