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Restaurant Review: Hykel's Submarine Sandwich Bar

French onion soup to die for.

Restaurant:
Address: 2704 E. County Line Rd. Ardmore
Rating: ★★★ out of 5 stars
Style: Eat-In / Take-Out
Food: Bar Food
Atmosphere: Casual
Service: Knowledgeable
Price: Under $10
Parking: Metered Street and Lot
Unique Feature: Hykle’s offers sidewalk seating, patio seating, smoking and non-smoking bar areas.

An impromptu lunch and a recommendation from a colleague led my mother-in-law and I to Hykle’s over the weekend. Not knowing what to expect, we arrived to what looked like a casual restaurant. But beyond its fresh stucco-like exterior and sidewalk seating, we found a bar-centric, local watering hole, a chef with a very big heart, and a long-time owner.

We took a seat at a high table near the window, in the front bar. The bartender came out from behind her post to give us menus and start us off with something to drink; a Pepsi and a diet. I asked the bartender what was on Hykle’s Famous Hoagie.

“Bologna, salami, domestic ham and cheese,” she replied.

It’s not too often bologna gets a starring role, and with my love of salami sandwiches being as it is, I knew what I’d be choosing.

From our perch, we could see the open kitchen area, off to the side. The chef behind the counter was working diligently. We looked over the menu. I decided on a crock of French Onion Soup, an order of garlic / parmesan fries, and of course, Hykle’s Famous Hoagie—"since 1938." My mother-in-law went with an order of the Sweet Potato Fries and George’s Fish Hoagie.

The crock of onion soup arrived first, and I can say with complete confidence that this was without a doubt the most aesthetically appealing and delicious French onion soup I may have ever eaten.

The cheese was crispy and brown, still bubbling hot when it arrived in front of me. The scent of onions soup was so intoxicating that I completely disregarded the molten cheese to dig right in, gladly sacrificing the skin on the roof of my mouth.

Our fries and sandwiches arrived moments later. The basket of crispy, golden French fries that I ordered looked phenomenal sprinkled with thick chunky parmesan and garlic.

On the other end of the fry spectrum, the basket of sweet potato fries had an allure all their own. The shoestring sweet potatoes were sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. But their shape and texture were more of an appealing illusion; each one literally melted on my tongue as I helped my mother-in-law work her way through her order. 

Hykle’s Famous Hoagie was interestingly assembled, with shredded lettuce, diced tomato and onion laid down first, and topped off with bologna, salami, domestic ham and cheese. Being unafraid to get my hands dirty, and a little too obsessive to attempt eating an upside-down hoagie, I maneuvered the entire contents of the bread into my open hand, and placed it back into the roll, lunchmeat side down. Hykle’s Famous had all the makings of a great hoagie, without pretending to be something it isn’t, like an American or Italian. It was a Hykle’s, and it was delicious.

George's Fish Hoagie was assembled in the same unconventional way—lettuce, tomato and onion topped off by fried fish filets— but it wasn’t as bothersome. The fish itself was moist and white, coated in an even batter. It was most likely a frozen filet, but it hadn’t been overcooked and wasn’t greasy at all.

I ventured back through the kitchen to the bathroom, hidden beyond the back bar, just before the entrance to the patio. On my way back, I complemented the chef on my lunch.

“It was made with love,” he said.

The food at Hykle’s was wonderful. The seemingly soft-spoken chef, Kareem, has been cooking there for the past six years, and his dedication to the food he serves is apparent. A little prying from my mother-in-law revealed that the owner, who was seated at the empty back bar, had grown up in the house and remodeled the location about five years back. He also eats a Hykle’s Famous Hoagie once a week.

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