A deep affection for Italian tradition is evident from the moment you pass under the red, green and white awning and enter Marchone's Italian Specialties in Wheaton. Owner Filippo Leo brought it with him when he left Antillo, Sicily, to follow the girl he married 37 years ago.
"We knew each other. We grew up together over there," said Leo. "Then she came to the United States, and I followed her. I call that love."
Leo fell in love again, this time with a place, as soon as he started working at his uncle's Italian delicatessen and grocer in Wheaton. When Tom Marchone decided to sell, Leo wanted to continue providing the experiences customers have enjoyed at the same location for nearly six decades.
"I love it. I love the people. I love to serve the people. Every day is an adventure," said Leo. "To make new friends or see old friends all the time over here is wonderful."
The old friends include patrons from Kensington, Silver Spring, Bethesda and the District who stop by 11224 Triangle Lane every week, if not several times a week.
Sylvia Seuss became a Marchone's fan 30 years ago. Now, the Four Corners resident comes in with co-workers and other friends she has introduced to the deli.
"We just love their food. It's fresh. It's always good. The service is wonderful. They are friendly. It just feels like a second home," said Seuss.
She and other patrons are also fond of the convenience Marchone's offers those who want to make or heat up an Italian dinner at home. "They sell the pizza dough, the sauce and everything to go on it. My grandson loves that," said Seuss.
The lasagna, chicken parmesan, baked ziti, manicotti and spaghetti with meatballs are all made fresh by Leo's wife, Maddalena. The dinners are frozen and can feed two people for $7.95.
"All our food is very authentic Italian; all the meats, cheeses, pasta and olive oil," said Leo. What he doesn't get directly from the old country, he buys from Italian companies in the U.S., including dried pasta and canned goods. The fresh baked breads come from a bakery in Baltimore, the sub rolls from Philadelphia and the array of Italian cookies from his cousin's company in New York.
The deli sandwiches at Marchone's turned Earl Clime into a loyal patron more than 16 years ago. The retired Montgomery County fire captain and Hillandale Fire Department volunteer is fond of the Italian cold cut sub.
"When I worked in the county, we would come by on the fire engines when we were in the area. We'd pick up our lunch or dinner and take it home with us," said Clime.
The large submarine sandwiches cost between $6.95 and $9.95. The small are $4.95 to $6.10. Other choices include ham, turkey and roast beef. Chicken, shrimp, and chicken salad are available. You can get a large, hot meatball parmesan sandwich for $7.75
There are daily soup choices and for dessert, try the cannoli Leo's wife makes fresh with Vaccaro's shells. Before you go, chances are Leo's devotion to customers will spark an enduring fondness for Marchone's.
"I believe there is no gimmick to people coming back," said Leo. "You've got to give them great food, great service, and make them feel welcome."
Need a party platter? Marchone's does meat and cheese platters or giant sub sandwiches. The deli requests 24-hour notice for most catering orders. Call 301-949-4150 for prices.
The deli and grocer is open seven days a week. Meter parking is plentiful near 11224 Triangle Lane in Wheaton. Additional information is available on Marchone's website.
Note: This is a restaurant profile, not a review. Opinions expressed do not represent the ideas of the writer or Patch.