Ask most young children what they’d like for their birthday, and their responses will typically include the hottest toy, video game or fashion trend. Lea Dalleggio’s wish, however, was a little more complicated. She wanted a Schlotzsky’s.
The franchise, popular in the South, became a favorite destination of hers as a child, when she would dine there regularly while visiting her grandmother in Houston, Tex.
“I wanted to be able to eat my sandwich whenever I wanted,” she recalls. “I was obsessed with the brand.”
The business venture didn’t make sense for the Dalleggios after Lea graduated college, but her father sold his business while she was pursuing her MBA, and suddenly owning a Schlotzsky’s became a more realistic possibility for the family. Upon completion of her studies, her father bought the New Jersey franchise rights to Schlotzsky’s, and the first eatery recently opened its doors at 39 Nathaniel Pl. in Englewood. The family plans to open 16 additional New Jersey locations over the next five years.
“I wanted the best of everything,” said Dalleggio. “I did all the homework. Schlotzsky’s is famous down South, but I have to spread the word and educate people.”
The restaurant, which she describes as “brand new and sparkling,” seats 65 people and features a menu that includes pizzas, salads and sandwiches. All bread, Dalleggio said, is baked from scratch on a daily basis. Among the most popular sandwiches are The Original, which contains lean smoked ham, Genoa and cotto salamis, and melted cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan cheese layered with black olives, red onion, lettuce, tomato, mustard and dressing, and the Angus Roast Beef & Cheese, which earned celebrity status in Pain and Gain, a 2013 American crime film starring Mark Wahlberg.
Schlotzsky’s also has Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, Carvel ice cream and Jersey Roasters Coffee, and will soon offer yogurt and fruit salad breakfast selections. The soda machine, which contains 129 different flavors, has been an exciting addition to the restaurant, according to Dalleggio. “It’s always fun to see what flavors mix together,” she said.
Patrons can take advantage of the Monday “Bunday” deal, which includes any small sandwiches or pizza for $3.99 (after 3 p.m.), or try their luck at Bingo on Wednesday nights. Those who can finish a large sandwich in fewer than 10 minutes — the restaurant’s “Lotza Meat Challenge” — are rewarded with a free Cinnabon and their picture on the wall.
“Every day is a little bit better,” she said. “I already have people coming in four times per week. Those who come in and try it really love it.”
Located in the Englewood ShopRite Plaza, Schlotzsky’s is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information, call 201-608-5422 or visit schlotzskys.com.
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