Ranelli's Deli and Café is an Italian deli located in a former gas station at 1225 20th Street South near 5 Points South in Birmingham. The restaurant is famous for its "Richman's Po-Boy" sandwich, while the café specials include "spaghetti day" on Tuesdays and "lasagna day" on Thursdays, with free second helpings. The restaurant is currently owned by Rick and Sarah Ranelli.
Before opening the deli, Sam and Julia Ranelli operated a neighborhood grocery store. Sara prepared foods for a cart at the 1968 Birmingham Festival of Arts Salute to Italy and the positive reception gave them the idea that a restaurant could be successful. They opened the original deli at Five Points South in 1971, followed within a few months by a second location at 2142 Warrior Road in Five Points West. A weekly special "Lasagna Day" on Thursdays was instituted on Julia's whim at the Southside location. Its popularity led Sam to add a "Spaghetti Day" on Tuesdays at Five Points West.
The Richman's Po-Boy is made with sliced ham, corned beef, peppered beef, Genoa salami, pastrami, Swiss cheese, provolone and a house-made olive salad served on Italian bread shipped from the J.J. Cassone Bakery in New York, New York. In 2012 it was named one of the "100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama Before You Die" as part of the Alabama Tourism Department's promotion for the "Year of Alabama Food."
By 1983, Ranelli's had added a third location in Century Plaza. Ranelli's No. 4 was located at 720 Olde Towne Road at Park South Place in Vestavia Hills. A total of seven locations were open during that decade, including stores in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Fort Walton Beach, Florida. After a few years, though, the family realized that it was overextended and scaled back to the single, original location.
- Hmaburg, Jay & Bill Koenig (June 1982) "Family Deli Caters to Pasta Fans." Birmingham Post-Herald / "Kudzu"
- Angell, Glory Clark (1983) Birmingham Inside Out. Birmingham, self published.
- Carlton, Bob (October 2, 2012) "Year of Alabama Food: Ranelli's Deli, Birmingham." The Birmingham News