Armetta's: Don't Waste Your Money.
When Franco was running the store, Armetta's was non pareil, the best of the best. He truly understood that the best way to ensure business was to offer great ingredients in good portions, with good service accompanied by a cult of personality. He knew many of his (considerable number of) customers by sight, remembered many names. He was upbeat and always happy to see you; he KNEW that customers were his fortune and UNDERSTOOD that treating them with respect would bring them back.
I knew that Franco was turning the running of his business over (initially to his daughter, Alexia, a bona fide shrew), but I had had no contact with the store for some two years. About a month or two ago, I was "treated" to an Armetta's House Hoagie. Armetta's House Hoagies were incredible: stuffed with meats and cheese and dressed well. The House Hoagie I was "treated" to was two dollars higher in price than the last I had purchased, and contained, at most, two-thirds the ingredients. It was pitifully anemic. Subway makes a better hoagie.
To continue: I just moved back to Emmaus and unpacking revealed a $10.00 Armetta's gift certificate, signed by Alexia, herself. (This was the result of another unfortunate story, the result of treatment by the staff under Alexia's clumsy and self-centered direction, in 2005.) We decided to use the certificate (which did not have an expiration date) to purchase a pizza -- certainly NOT a hoagie.
The store is within convenient walking distance of our apartment, so we walked up and ordered a large pizza with extra cheese. They rang up the order -- their policy is that you pay for take-out BEFORE it's made -- and I gave the counterman the certificate. His reaction was, "Wow, check this out; it's from 2005!" and then to call a guy I assumed to be the Manager On Duty over. The Manager took the certificate, looked it over, and then -- without a word to us -- disappeared upstairs for almost five minutes. I revised my estimate of his title to Floor Manager, and figured he was checking with the REAL Manager (whom I assumed to be Alexia).
When he finally returned, he said, rather ungraciously, "Well, there's no expiration date, so we'll accept it." His tone suggested that we were damned lucky he was being magnanimous and doing us such a big favor. I replied, "I'll bet Alexia bled from the eyes when she okay'd it." He said, rather acerbically, "I'M the owner." But, he did not bother to identify himself. The tab came to fourteen dollars and change -- for a 16" pie with extra cheese....
So, he's a mannerless boor who happens to own a food joint that's trading heavily on the reputation established by a knowledgeable, hard-working guy who understood his role in the interplay between business and customer. This clown hasn't got a clue.
We walked home and ate pizza. The crust was underdone and rubbery. Somewhere under the cheese I caught visual hints of sauce; I never did really taste it, because the wasn't enough of it to taste. The cheese was standard. All in all, the pie was mediocre. Domino's is a much better value, and, actually, their pizza is better.
The upshot is:
Food: Over-priced and mediocre;
Ambiance: You're damned lucky we're here for you;
Management: Haughty; thinks his s**t doesn't stink, and he sees customers ONLY as a source of revenue.
Want to eat out? DO NOT SPEND YOUR MONEY AT ARMETTA'S. It's not worth it.