Have a Heart Attack "Rocky"-style at Calozzi's

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The Stop: Pioneer Square

The Vibe: On a chilly weekend day, the neighborhood is a ghost town, a handful of people smoking on benches or wandering into the rug shops. The nightclubs aren't open yet and with no home game, no one seems compelled to wander down to Seattle's oldest neighborhood.

At least, it's quiet until you walk into a small café nestled between Last Supper Club and Trinity.

The Café: From the second I walked into Calozzi's Cheesesteaks (115 Occidental Way S., 467-9449), occupying the former home of Tat's Deli (since moved into a larger space around the corner), I kept waiting for someone to yell "yo, Adrien!"

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The entire Calozzi family was behind the counter, eating pizza and chopping shredded beef. I ordered one of the subs, and in a thick Philly drawl, Jennifer Calozzi asked me if I want it "with whiz." Provolone and Mozzarella are also options, but whiz is how they do it back home, she told me. The menu also offers the option of getting your cheesesteak "wit or witout fried onions."

Al Calozzi, Jennifer's brother-in-law, has been in Seattle for awhile, first serving up cheesesteaks to people leaving nightclubs looking for a hangover prevention. Al then sold the enormous subs out of Belltown Billiards before taking over the Tat's space three months ago.

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Mmm, death by sandwich.
Like many places on the Café Car route, Calozzi's has the feel of a small, ethnic hole-in-the-wall. The Calozzis freely speak their native language--"Philly"--and the café runs more like a friends and family hangout than a business.

Jennifer is feeding her son mere feet from the grill. Family photos, including one with a brother and Rudy Giuliani, decorate the wall around the menu. A large baking sheet filled with rectangular pizza slices sits on the counter. The Calozzi's serve it cold for $2 a slice, but hang out eating for long enough and you'll probably get a piece on the house.

At Jennifer's recommendation, I order the cheesesteak with whiz. Swimming in grease and processed cheese, you can practically feel your arteries hardening with each bite. Now that's authentic Philly.

 
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