Originally published on Albany Patch.
Framed pictures of some of the greatest gangsters in American culture, real and Hollywood, line the wall of the sandwich shop. All the notables are there: Tony Montana overseeing his Miami empire. Al Capone with other Chicago boys. The Corleone family posed at the wedding of Connie Corleone and Carlo Rizzi.
The photos provide a hint of what a patron can expect at , a new joint, at Albany’s busiest intersection, that sports Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian Beef sandwiches.
The shop is brand new, having opened a little more than a week ago. But the craft is anything but for owner David Guy, a long-time cook and entrepreneur marketing his sandwiches in Seattle and Richmond.
Born in Los Angeles, Guy, 46, started Philly Phil’s in Richmond, on Cutting Boulevard. After running the shop for a year, Guy sold it and moved with his wife to Seattle.
While there, he ran Rizzo’s French Dips, a popular shop with an even simpler menu. He and his wife returned to the Bay Area to be closer to family.
Guy has lived in the Bay Area for 27 years, on and off, including a six year stint on Solano Avenue. When the last fall, Guy said it was perfect timing, as he was looking to start a new shop in the Bay Area.
Four Corners left all the equipment he needed. And he was able to get easily, and cheaply, permitted by the city, given the shops’ similar aims.
“This used to be a sandwich shop before,” Guy said. “When that happens everything goes a lot smoother.”
The shop’s menu is simple and effective: Customers have a choice between a hot dog or an Italian beef sandwich tweaked in several styles depending on taste. While you can get a hot dog plain, with the works or smothered in chili and cheese, the sandwiches range from plain to soaked in a homemade flavorful gravy and served with a delicious giardiniera, a spicy relish that includes jalapeno, celery, pepperoncini and carrot.
For the food eater on a budget, the shop’s prices range from $4 to $8, not including tax or extras like a drink or macaroni salad.
The shop serves Vienna Beef hot dogs and Phillipe’s beef, though Guy said he prepares the beef carefully, usually allowing it to marinate for up to 48 hours in a stew of vegetables and spices. The result is meat that is flavorful without being overly salty.
No doubt, it’s easy to raise an eyebrow when a sandwich shop opens across from Subway, especially in a location that has been . But Guy said he doesn’t see as competition, or as a problem, since both market to different clientele.
“You come to my shop, you know you’ve got something that’s good,” Guy said. “You won’t be walking out hungry.”
If anything, Guy has a bountiful optimism about the future. He said he is confident in what he is doing, and the quality of his food, and fully expects to set up franchises, if business is good, in Oakland, Hayward, and even Encino, CA.
“Like I said, we know what we’re doing,” Guy said. “It’s tough to get a good sandwich, especially this type of sandwich. You gotta know how to make it right.”