14860 Military Trail
Delray Beach, FL 33484
Two very favorable restaurant trends seem to be emerging in Delray as of late: coal-fired & brick oven pizzerias and Philly cheesesteaks. Zio’s is the best of the latter, with Big Al’s on Atlantic Avenue a close second. For the uninitiated, there is a holy trinity among all good cheesesteaks: good bread, good meat and Cheez Whiz. Zio’s blesses us with all three. They do use genuine Cheez Whiz (accept no imitations – if you see anything other than official Whiz near the grill, keep walking). The beef is delicious, maybe even of a higher quality than the ne plus ultra of cheesesteak joints, Pat’s in Philadelphia. And the bread, which any true connoisseur will tell is the most important part of the sandwich, is soft and chewy, spongy but not mushy. It’s no Amoroso’s, but it’s definitely a cut above the usual South Florida loaf (see D’Best’s inexplicably greasy rolls). All in all, a more than acceptable alternative to driving the 1,150 miles to Pat’s.
Not a cheesesteak fan? No problem. Zio’s has a nice variety of subs and paninis. The Italian combo (Genoa salami, prosciutto, capicola and provolone) boasts high quality meats and two very important details: the lettuce and the tomatoes. The lettuce is Romaine. Thank you, Zio’s for bypassing bargain basement iceberg. The tomatoes win because of their cut. They aren’t sliced into the typical saucer-shaped pieces; instead, they’re cut into thick rectangular pieces (think fat, squat french fries) that are much easier to bite through.
There is one problem with Zio’s: location. Stuck in an anonymous shopping center at Atlantic and Military, it can’t offer the ability to quench a late night craving. For one, they close at 10:00 on weekends, and for two, they aren’t centrally located. A trip to Zio’s requires a drive from just about anywhere you’d be on a Saturday night. Still, there’s no denying that Zio’s raises the bar on sandwiches in an area that has heretofore been sorely lacking.
Dave W on Yelp