It was past noon and I had finished up at the gym and was feeling a bit peckish. Several of my gym-mates decided we needed to recover the few calories we’d lost that morning and someone mentioned Carl’s Deli as an opportune location. None of us had ever been there, but it was on our culinary bucket list.
Off we headed toward the little deli on Clayton Road at DeMun, across from St. Mary’s Hospital. I’d been by that corner hundreds of times and never noticed the neon sign tucked under the green awning. But I had read about Carl’s—not to be confused with Carl’s Drive-in on Manchester known for its smashed burgers.
I eyed the menu, that included such deli favorites as: polish sausage, hot dogs, corned beef, turkey pastrami, beef tongue and braunschweiger. Braunschweiger? When did you last see that on a menu? I knew I should try the hot pastrami and cheese with mustard. I knew, too, it would be an immensely thick sandwich or “really huuuge,” at Donald Trump might say.
At the last moment, I veered off to the Reuben, because of my fondness for sauerkraut. But I took the precaution of smiling at the nice, young man behind the counter and saying, “Make that with less meat and more kraut, please.” Despite my request, the sandwich arrived thick and billowy, which I suspect is the only way they’re made at the “Home of the Famous Overstuffed Sandwich.” I had to remove some of the layers to get my drooling jaws around the meaty mound.
My iced tea was Trumpanian, too, as was the side pickle. I inquired about the deli salads in the interest of this post. The nice, young man recommended the mustard potato salad. The salads come from elsewhere, I’m told, but the potato salad was, nonetheless, a good complement to the sandwich. My companions had egg salad and a turkey pastrami, both equally overloaded.
It was a warm spring day so we sat at a window table to enjoy the sun. People living at a more hurried pace, (non-retirees, that is), came and went as my friends and I lingered to solve a few world problems. Carl’s reminds me of the store-front delis scattered about urban neighborhoods when I was a kid. There’s something familiar and comforting about eating from a timeless menu and rubbing shoulders with such a variety of folks.
Carl’s is a good place to grab a quick lunch or to just sit a spell and munch on memories.
Carl’s Deli, 6401 Clayton Road. Open: Mon-Fri 9a-5:30p; Sat 9a- 4p; Sun closed.