Last week I walked into a Pottstown landmark and walked out totally in love with this town all over again. No, the building isn’t on the Historic Register, although the place has got the past written all over it, and its traditional pork and beef hot sausage sandwich – with mustard, relish and onions – is called “old school.” Yep, I’m talking about the concrete extension of the basement at 577 Lincoln Avenue, where Brunish’s Deli has been located since 1938. If you want a taste of Pottstown history and a hearty sausage sandwich, cheesesteak or hoagie, you need to put this on your list of go-to local spots.
Brunish’s Deli has been a family affair from the beginning, starting in 1937 when the grandparents of the current proprietors – Dan and Bob Brunish – opened a candy, sandwich and mini-mart in a basement a few doors away. One year later their grandparents moved to #577 and set up shop in their own basement. Dan and Bob’s father took over in 1949, and added hot dogs and hot sausage to the menu in 1955. Dan has been running the deli full-time since 1974. Justin Brunish, Bobby’s son, also works there, making him the fourth generation to be in the business. The Brunishes claim to have the last originally-owned family sandwich shop in town.
In addition to an extensive sandwich menu, they’ve got convenience items like pasta, sauce, soups, chips, mac & cheese, cereal, soda, and – of course – Tastykakes. They’ve also got some sports gear for sale, most notably, Phillies hats and jerseys.
If you want to experience something real, check out Brunish’s for the food, the atmosphere and the architecture. While the 6’4.5” ceiling is just barely high enough for 6’4” Dan Brunish to stand up straight, the cocoon-like surroundings and the friendliness of the Brunishes make it feel like home.
Brunish’s Deli is located at 577 Lincoln Avenue, Pottstown, PA, across from the former Jefferson Elementary School. They’re open 7 am-8 pm, Monday-Saturday and 7am-6pm on Sundays. The phone number is 326-1900 (“The same number since Day 1,” says Dan.)