The 1700 block of Bridgetown Pike was anything but quiet on Sunday afternoon as residents celebrated the Village Pantry in Feasterville, PA.

Village Pantry is officially home to the Real Philly Deli Best Sandwich of 2017. The Feasterville deli outvoted all other competitors in the Philly Magazine and Dietz and Watson’s competition.

Village Pantry owner Anthony Merlino with employee Jim Jackson
Anthony Merlino with employee Jim Jackson

Anthony Merlino, owner of Village Pantry, knew exactly which sandwich to enter after Dietz and Watson asked him to join the contest.

“The Messina Hoagie,” Merlino explained, “it’s something I came up with and Messina is where my family is from in Italy.”

The community flocked to the deli parking lot to bask in the taste of the Messina and celebrate its new fame.

Merlino understood from the start the town’s part in making this victory possible.

“It’s great to be recognized but it’s the whole community,” he said during the voting process. “It just proves that a community stands behind their businesses.”

Nearly 500 Messina pieces were enjoyed by neighbors and a couple lucky ones won a special hidden prize.

“It (the golden ticket) is good for one free hoagie a month for a year,” Merlino told one of the winners.¬†

I wonder which hoagie he will choose…


Merlino will be attending a gala this week in honor of the success and celebrate with Philly Mag, Dietz and Watson and other fellow¬†winners from ‘Best Of’ contests.

“This is everything I worked for,” Merlino said. “It’s really going to put us (Village Pantry and Feasterville) on the map.”

The Village Pantry market in Feasterville, PA