February 12, 2008

The French Bakery: First Things First!

Our first stop in Norfolk was The French Bakery (4108 Granby Street) for the best non-traditional pastrami sandwich that you'll ever bite into. We ordered the small size, which I recommend only because the I prefer the taste and texture of the buttery bread. The medium sandwich is built on a French roll baked to size, and the large is served on freshly baked Italian bread and will easily feed two hungry people. The sandwich is filled with tender, succulent, spicy, hot pastrami, provolone cheese, raw onions, tomato, pickle and hot mustard. It's the perfect marriage of the best of all of those ingredients. Rumor is that their roast pork is just as good, I'll have to try that next time. Please note: I ordered 'Pastrami, no salami'. George does not like to alter his sandwiches, but I like it without salami and that is what's pictured here.

The French Bakery was opened by Elias and Haifa Habib in 1912, and moved to its present Granby Street location during World War II. Their sons, George and Eli (pictured below), currently run the bakery. The only words of caution I have for you are to be strong because the pressure these guys exert upon you to urge you to buy outrageously expensive baked goods is very hard to resist. I am sure they're worth it, but I had a food budget for this trip and this was only my first stop!

I encourage you to go to the French Bakery to try the sandwiches (under $8 for a small) and maybe have a bag of chips and a beer. Just try to resist the hard sell on the rest of the baked goods- I wish you better luck at that than I had, but I'll be stronger next time...and the eggs.


Psychgrad said...

Woah...that sandwich must have gone through some major squishing before eating.

nunu said...

Mmm I love pastrami. I've never had it with provolone cheese, raw onions, tomato, pickle and hot mustard though. Sounds interesting...minus the tomato.

Arties32 said...

Psych- yes- it's a multi-napkin event. Remember how Wendy's commercials used to be - one bite and then one napkin swipe?

Nunu- you'd love this sandwich..minus the tomato.

JB said...

how have I never been here? I want to drive there right now.

Arties32 said...

JB- I had no idea you didn't know about it. When I worked at J.M. Prince Books in Selden Arcade, they had a location in the arcade, and I think I ate pastrami every day for lunch!

Anonymous said...

One of the brothers, "Moe" used to have another location following the same mold, same recipes etc. In Va Beach . It was called Bon Jour Bakery located in the KMART shopping center on Constitution Drive. Thats where I had my first hot pastrami at age 9, and after it closed...I began the trips out to Norfolk to the original French Bakery.

There is simply nothing better, and I highly recommend sending a note to editor@esquire.com to vote it for best sandwhich nationwide;)

K. French
Va Beach

Arties32 said...

I'm on my way there, K. French!
Thanks for the heads up!