Our former Mexican-in-Chief's definition of a hole in the wall is simple: hard-to-find locales/cuisine, super-cheap grub and damn great dining. There are hundreds of them in Orange County, most of which he already uncovered. What he began 14 years ago chronicles the shifting multicultural food enclaves that include Anaheim's Little Arabia, Little Saigon, Buena Korea (Buena Park) and everything in between and has become this publication's voice for some of the best Orange County eats. I was lucky to have one hell of a mentor, and I'm honored to take over his column.
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Between towering apartment homes and a nail salon stands Walker's Liquor & Deli, an otherwise-unassuming corner store that houses a good selection of cold beers, spirits, wine and snacks. It seems like your typical grab-and-go until you come across the counter-style sandwich shop tucked inside.
In the curved glass case is a wide variety of premium Boar's Head meats and cheeses from which you can create your own combination on a choice of freshly baked bread from Galasso's Bakery. Or you can choose among the menu's 23 submarine offerings, all served on 8- and 12-inch vessels. There's American classics such as tuna, egg salad, roast beef, and a number of Italian-style cold cuts and hot sandwiches, including homemade meatballs topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. The Italian hero layers mortadella, ham, dry salami, sliced tomatoes, pepperoncinis and shredded lettuce on a white-bread roll with provolone cheese and oil-and-vinegar dressing. In addition to great hoagies, there are fantastic housemade daily soups and pasta salads. With a line that often snakes around the store, it's easy to see why this dive is coming up on 30 years of business.
Though there are some tables outside, this is more of a to-go joint. I suggest playing some scratchers while scarfing down your sandwich—you just might get lucky and win enough money for another grinder. Pro tip: The deli closes earlier than the liquor store, but If you call in your order before 6 p.m., it'll be waiting for you at the counter.
Walker's Liquor & Deli, 1841 W. Lincoln Ave., Ste. D, Anaheim, (714) 758-0705.