The Newtown Square / Broomall area is an interesting one for Main Line food-lovers. It’s likely that many people who live on the true “main line” (especially blue-bloods) don’t think of NS as a place to go for food, despite its proximity to just about every town between Bryn Mawr and Paoli. That said, there are some extremely interesting food options here, many of which are somewhat under the radar on the food scene.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that restaurants and food stores in this area tend to be very traditional and less trendy that what you might find on the Line. We’ve previously discussed the fantastic selection of Italian-style pork sandwiches along the Route 3 corridor, and old-school Italian restaurants like Valentino’s remain quietly successful after all these years. Along those same lines, Weinrich Bakery (which, for some reason, we’ve yet to profile on MLD) offers a great selection of traditional German (and PA Dutch) specialties like butter cake. A little further down Route 3 lies Armenian Delight, a small storefront selling Middle Eastern groceries and prepared foods.
I’ve surely driven past Armenian Delight hundreds of times over the years, but honestly never really paid it much attention. The storefront does not appear to have been cleaned, spruced, touched in any way in at least 25 years. To be blunt, it looks dilapidated and outdated. Though we’ve all been taught to not judge a book by its cover, we all still do.
Interestingly enough, it was Anthony Bourdain who finally convinced me to check out Armenian Delight. Well, not directly, but it was certainly his influence. It was the Istanbul episode, where Tony and a friend go to a restaurant to get a local specialty called Lahmacun: flatbread with spiced beef. Basically, it was a combination of two outstanding food groups – pizza and middle-eastern food. How could that possibly be anything but wonderful?
After perusing the interwebs for a few recipes, I filed away good one for a time when I was feeling inspired and kind of forgot about it… until I saw a mention of Armenian Delight in some local publication that raved about their Lahmajoun (different spelling, same foodstuff). That close to home!? A visit here became imminent.
The inside of the store is not much different than the outside – simple, a touch austere, and outdated. But there are some really interesting foods to try. Of course, the main goal was Lahmajoun, of which there was plenty to be had. A 12-pack of beef ones (which are about 8-inches in diameter and very thin) runs about $16. Not a bad deal for a lot of food, although certainly more than a normal-sized family needs for a meal. There were also chicken and veggie varieites in the freezer. Reheat them at 400F for about 5 minutes before eating.
Truth be told, eating Lahmajoun was not a life-changing experience. Spicy (not hot spicy, but flavorful spicy) beef, onions and garlic were the dominant flavors, and overall they were balanced. This is a nice snack or lunch to keep in the freezer for sure, but, just the same, I can’t insist that this is a must-try. Also, this being my only experience, I have little to compare them to. That said, they rate as tasty and interesting, if unspectacular.
Hummus, on the other hand, is something I can speak to quite familiarly. Armenian Delight’s is quite good. Smooth, creamy and very flavorful. It had a bit too much lemon for my taste, however I do prefer mine with less than most recipes. The zesty acidity did provide a nice foil to the spiced beef.
Armenian Delight also offers an interesting selection of other foods such as flatbreads, stuffed grape leaves, fresh phyllo, a nice variety of cheeses, olives, plus some dry goods (including their own blend of falafel mix that we acquired but have yet to taste), spices and nuts.
2591 West Chester Pike