When I was little, the church we attended each week was located next door to Isaly’s. For those of you who don’t know what Isaly’s was, their website explains it all:
“Starting in the early 1930s, Isaly’s deli and dairy products were sold exclusively in Isaly’s own chain of bright, white-tiled stores with “Isaly’s” written large above the doors. Now, with changed lifestyles, those stores are mostly a fond memory. But the Isaly’s brand of meats and cheeses lives on, in supermarket delis and convenience stores throughout Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, parts of Maryland and Virginia, too. Generation after generation, the brand remains a family tradition.”
And what a tradition it was. I got to go there every Sunday after Sunday school. We rarely made it to church after Sunday school. I was hyper and couldn’t sit still. My sister had temper tantrums that were epic, and my poor brother just sat there. So, we would go right to Isaly’s for breakfast. I thought it was the neatest thing that my toast would come to me cut diagonally. Diagonally. I mean, who does that? My mom didn’t. So, after that, I demanded “Isaly’s toast” at home. If we went to any other restaurant, I would order “Isaly’s toast.” My mom had to explain to the waitress to just cut the damn thing diagonally and bring it to me. Voila! Isaly’s toast.
Isaly’s was famous for their chip chopped ham. It was sliced razor thin and was so delicious. We would stop at the bakery on the way home for some semi-hard rolls, and just stuff ourselves. So good.
People used to say that Isaly was an acronym for “I shall always love you Sweetheart,” but that is not true. Actually, the founder was William Isaly, a Swiss immigrant, who used the phrase in adverstising to help spell the name. So, next time someone tells you that it means, “I shall always love you Sweetheart,” you can call them a liar.
The Klondike Bar was also created by the Isaly company. What would you do for a klondike bar? The klondike bar has been around since 1922. And once malls opened around in the area, Isaly’s opened Sweet William. Bet you didn’t know that.
The whole point of this post is that I am hungry for that razon thin chipped chopped ham on a semi-hard roll. I try to stay clear of ham products because of my high cholesterol (which I blame on my mom because it surely isn’t my fault), but I want one just the same.
And the next time you put a couple slices of bread in the toaster, cut it diagonally. It will make you feel special.