Fossati’s Delicatessen, Victoria, TX

Fossati’s Delicatessen is the oldest deli in Texas, and one of the oldest in the United States.


Located in Victoria, Texas, Fossati’s was opened in 1882 by Italian immigrant Fraschio (“Frank”) Napoleon Fossati. He had the current building constructed in 1895 and moved the deli from a nearby downtown location (actually, Fossati’s had changed locations several times, and had, at one time or another, been on every corner of the square in downtown Victoria).


One of the oldest remaining commercial structures in Victoria, Fossati’s features double front doors with multi-light transoms. Over the years, Fossati’s has handled imported foods, groceries, and feed and has served as an important gathering place for Victoria’s citizens. In addition, many famous musicians have played at the deli, including country music legend Willie Nelson. You can see the front doors and transoms in this picture as well as the old bar.


In the back room of the deli, known as the Frank Napoleon room, there is a giant bookcase filled with hundreds of cookbooks, many of which have been out of print for 50+ years. Also inside, there is a trench-like area just above the floor surrounding the bar. This is where men used to spit tobacco. Outside of the building there are still metal rings where men used to tie up their horses and come in for a drink. After 125 years, Fossati’s is still owned and operated by the same family.


Front of the Fossati’s menu


The first page of the menu with a picture of Frank, the Fossati’s Classics offerings, and the House Specialties.


I felt inclined to order something from the Classics or House Specialties and chose the Chicken Poorboy.  The sandwich is made with French bread (which was delicious) and served with chips and a pickle spear. The chicken salad was a classic style, sort of creamy with nothing fancy added.  Just what you would expect from an old fashioned deli.  I really wanted to try the Ella May Fossati’s Gourmet Soup but, sadly, they were out of it.


Dwight’s choice, being a Reuben fan, was the Reuben from the regular sandwich menu.  It was also served with chips and a pickle spear.  He definitely gave it a thumbs up saying it had just the right amounts of corned beef, sauerkraut, and appropriate dressing.  This from someone who loves Reubens,  but is particular about how they are made.


I got a to-go box for half of my sandwich so I could sample a dessert.  The selections were simple.  Again, what you would expect in an old fashioned deli.  I choose the Brownie Sundae served warm with vanilla ice cream, chocolate and caramel sauces, whipped cream, and a cherry.  Well, no cherry for me, just don’t care for them.


A Texas Historic Landmark plaque is located on the wall just outside the front door.

We enjoyed our lunch at the deli and will be returning again.  Hopefully I’ll get to try the Ella May Fossati’s gourmet soup and another of their wonderful sounding sandwiches.   Dwight will probably have another Reuben ……


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