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Pair of Pittsburgh delis stand in a long line of tradition

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:18 p.m.
Customers wait on line during lunch at the Deli on Butler in Lawrenceville.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Customers wait on line during lunch at the Deli on Butler in Lawrenceville.

Gary Gigliotti says he is trying to present a warm, family feeling in the Deli on Butler in Lawrenceville and the Deli on North in the North Side.

Seeing as how the Deli on Butler, the first of the pair, was inspired by his father, Pasquale, it only makes sense.

“My father told me I should find something I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” he says. “I decided I wanted to open a place like this.”

The two delis, with similar signs designed by family members, are casual take-out-only restaurants with sandwiches made on demand. As a result, there are no tables, and the sites are made for a quick stop. Menus hang on the walls. Coolers hold a variety of drinks. Counters are filled with meats, cheeses and sides such as potato or mixed salads.

In true deli fashion, both sites also sell sliced meats and cheeses, too.

“It can be really funny,” Gigliotti says. “I'll be standing here with a line out the door and a little, neighborhood grandma will come in for a half-pound of ham and four slices of mozzarella.”

Gigliotti works behind the counter at the Butler Street site, where he is the chief partner. Lunch cohort Pete Notarangelo does the same at the North Avenue site, where he is the main man.

The restaurants have an easy-going feeling with a great deal of chatter between the staff and the customers. Gigliotti says that give-and-take happens because many customers have become regulars, so he and his workers know what they like and what they are interested in.

Both restaurants do a great deal of their trade with local business people and workers, but Gigliotti says local residents have developed a fondness for both.

The family feel extends past the tone of the eateries. On Butler Street, a sandwich of roast beef, smoked ham and turkey with two cheeses, red onions and a special sauce ($6.75) is called the Pasquale after Gigliotti's dad.

On the North Side, an offering with roast beef, provolone, horseradish sauce, lettuce and tomato ($6.75) is named Teresa's Arrosto Dimanzo after Notarangelo's mother.

The menu is loaded with lunch or light-meal basics. Italian wedding soup is offered every day, with other soups rotating through a support role at $3.50 for 12 ounces. Salads range from a tossed ($4.75) to a chef and deli cobb ($6.25).

Sandwiches are $6.75 and include a muffaletta with salami, capicola, pepperoni, ham and provolone.

Paninis ($6.75), which come with a proud array of grill marks, include avocado blue with turkey, bacon, bleu cheese and pesto, and the Beef & Blue with roast beef, bleu cheese and caramelized red onions.

The delis also have hoagies ($4.75-$5.50 for half or $7.50-$8.50 for a whole) and wraps ($6.50) including a veggie variety and a chicken Caesar.

It is down-to-earth variety in two down-to-earth settings.

Deli on Butler, 4034 Butler St., 412-682-6866, and Deli on North, 4 E. North Ave., 412-322-3354, are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

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