Ranelli’s Deli is one of those places that if you saw it, you probably wouldn’t give much of a second thought about it. I’d driven by it a million times and noticed there were always a lot of cars in the parking lot, but never thought to go there until I started hearing great things about this little Italian deli.
Ranelli’s has been a landmark in Birmingham’s Southside area for more than 40 years, and when you walk in, you can see that it is still a favorite of locals and those who have been going there for years. The ten or so tables inside consisted of elderly men gathering with their friends, good ol’ boys chowing down on sub sandwiches, and young professionals meeting for lunch.
The walls are plastered with old photos, jazz concert posters, and article clippings. White boards with the handwritten menu hang from the ceiling. Ranelli’s is famous for their Richman Po’Boy – a loaf of Italian bread stuffed with ham, corned beef, peppered beef, Swiss cheese, pastrami, salami, and Provolone and topped with their housemade olive salad – but I opted for a different menu choice since I despise olives and anything that tastes like them (I’m not a picky eater but olives are an absolute no-can-do for me).
I ordered the meatball sub because it seemed like an appropriate place to do so, and it was really good. Of course, no meatballs can beat my Italian family’s generational secret recipe, but these were a pretty good option for when I’m in need of a quick meatball fix. I got the small sub (6-inches), and it had 3 huge meatballs covered in sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. The meatballs were very flavorful and the sauce definitely tasted homemade. I liked that there was sauce underneath the meatballs on the bread, as well as on top of them. The bread they used was very fresh and had a great taste. I got the salad and drink combo with it and only paid $7.69.
If you’re in Southside looking for a good, hearty lunch, Ranelli’s should be your go-to place. It’s quick and affordable, and you definitely won’t leave hungry. They also have daily specials, including all-you-can-eat lasagna day on Thursday. Yeah, you read that right.