Hoagies on High Street

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First Posted: 9/22/2014

When Mike Drozdowski scratched off a $5 ticket and won $100,000 in the Pennsylvania Lottery a few years ago, he put his money where his heart is.

“I paid off my house, and I bought a house for my parents,” the Wilkes-Barre man said, recalling how delighted he was to hand the key to his mom, Dolores, and father, Mike.

Mom and Dad were amazed that he had remodeled the place, too, working on the task himself with help from his friend Jeff Hartley.

Nowadays Drozdowski is hoping for another kind of luck, the kind that will prompt hungry customers to stop by his new business, the High Street Deli, and try his hot and cold subs and the specialty sauces he cooks up.

“This place used to be Allan’s Subs,” he said of the cozy little store that almost gives the impression it’s built into the hill at the corner of High and Stanton streets in Wilkes-Barre. “I’ve heard the line (of customers) used to go down the street.”

Hoping to capitalize on people’s affection for the old Allan’s, Drozdowski said he orders fresh-baked hoagie rolls from the same Pittston area bakery Allan’s used to use.

“I’m hoping people won’t think I’m just a little corner store,” he said. “I’m open at 8 a.m., making breakfast sandwiches on bagels and muffins. At 10:30 I switch right over to lunch … and we deliver.”

Drozdowski, a 2000 graduate of GAR High School, used to work at Motorworld and helped out at Ricci’s Pizza, where his mom is manager. But he always wanted to own his own place.

Now he’s working on that dream, working seven days a week fixing Italian hoagies, tuna hoagies and roast beef hoagies along with salads, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks and fries as well as cheese steaks, meatball hoagies and several kinds of chicken subs.

“My favorite is the chicken bacon ranch,” said Drozdowski’s fiancee, Lorie Lopez, who helped put together the menu.

Drozdowski also is grateful to his buddy Nick Bolesta who helped paint the store while friends Phil Vitale and Hartley from Hartley Construction pitched in with remodeling.

There are railings outside the door now to help older folks who might cross the street from the Valley View Terrace high-rise to patronize him.

“The city’s been good to me,” Drozdowski said, explaining a crew came out and repaired what had been an uneven sidewalk.

Now all he needs are more folks to stop by and see how his hoagies compare to Allan’s.