By Mary Bigham
I had heard the buzz about the tasty Foster Boys sandwiches for months through friends, tweets and facebook messages, so I finally made a trip to Downingtown to experience the goodness for myself.
Aesthetically, it’s a typical pizza shop, but the clean lines and trademark blue and white decor made me feel comfortable as soon as I walked through the door. There’s something about a family-run business that gives me the feeling that all is right with the world, especially with signs on the wall that read “Enter as strangers, leave as friends.”
No matter if you’re greeted by the friendly help behind the counter or any of the 3 brothers that make up the “Foster Boys” trio, you’ll be treated like a guest in their home. I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of the “boys,” Dave, who filled me in on what Foster Boys is all about.
Growing up in Coatesville, he and his 2 brothers, Tommy and Joey, often joined their father on his many jobs as an electrical contractor.
“Dad always made it a food adventure for us, looking for the best of the best. He would comment that ‘these rolls are the greatest,’ or ‘this is the best cheesesteak you can find.’ He would note the best spots to get things and always dreamed of having a restaurant where all of those things would be under one roof.”
Life lead the brothers to have some continuous role in the food industry, working behind the line at various restaurants. When their father decided to make his dream a reality and open a family-run restaurant, he set out to have the best of all the foods in one location from pizza to pork sandwiches and cheesesteaks. With that mission, the boys certainly do not disappoint.
Just 1 year since opening Foster Boys they have been voted “The Best Pizza in Downingtown” by members of the community as well as being voted “The Best Hoagie and Deli Sandwich in Chester County” by a Daily Local News poll.
I left the fate of my order in the hands of Dave, who sent out his top-selling items. I started with his hand-breaded mozzarella sticks (that were thinner than your typical mozz stick, which was really nice) and made with the best ingredients leaving a solid crunchy coating with lots of gooey cheese inside without being greasy at all! I followed that up with one of the BEST subs I’ve ever had. Want to know how serious they take their sandwiches? Their menu boasts no less than FOUR variations of an Italian cold hoagie (The Italian, The Special Italian, The Super Italian and The Ultimate Italian) with various ingredients served on 8- or 12-in famous Sarcone rolls.
I had the Ultimate Italian filled with thinly sliced high-quality Boar’s Head meats and I opted to have their home-made long hot peppers on the side. The meats and cheeses were piled SO high I was worried it would all spill out as I bit into it, but Dave was steps ahead of me and explained that’s why they slice the meats so thin so that “they melt together in each bite” and oh boy did they ever! Each bite was like a beautifully orchestrated masterpiece with the right amount of sharp provolone, chewiness and texture from the bread (with sesame seeds on top…ooh la la!) and layers of flavor from the meats.
Although I shouldn’t have been able to find room for it, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try a bite of “Mom’s Brownies,” which were picnic-ready, wrapped in wax paper and sealed with a sticker with their logo on it. And it was just how a brownie should be. I’m not a fan of the cake-like brownies, so I was thrilled to bit into this moist, dense, rich brownie packed with nuts and chocolate chips.
On this trip I wasn’t able to get a taste of their pizza, which has won over the hearts of Downingtown locals, and as Dave told me, “We do have great pizza, but with so many pizza places in the area we are okay not having the best. But, we make quite sure we have awesome sandwiches!” And that they do.
Foster Boys, 226 E. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, (610) 269-6600. Hours: Mon., closed; Tues. – Thurs., 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun., noon – 9 p.m.