Blues City Deli has been on my bucket list for sometime. And for good reason. The Benton Park deli has earned rave reviews and awards over the last 15 years. I had to see for myself.
Tuesday was a reasonably comfortable day, for this time of the year, so Cyndy and I headed across town for lunch. It was 12:45, when we arrived and the line still stretched out the door and down the street. Unable to find a seat at the semi-communal tables, a few people sat in chairs on the sidewalk. We chose to run some errands and return a half hour later when the line was much shorter.
Big Bites of Happiness
The deli’s impeccable crafted sandwiches are swaddled in butcher’s paper and placed in a plastic sack, that a server delivers to the table. Cyndy ordered a Reuben and I got the highly touted Muffuletta.
When I opened the bag, my eyes popped! The Muffuletta was the size of a pie plate! Each of the four sections was equal to a normal sandwich. This was definitely a meal for four.
“Go, Jean, Go!”
The two guys at he next table, sensing we had not been to the sandwich shop before, started laughing at my reaction and inquired if I intended to eat it all. Apparently, they were going to stay for the “show,” if that was the case. I assured them, I was unable to accept a competitive eating challenge, even though I suspect I could have amassed a crowd shouting me on with a chorus of “Go, Jean, go!
Let the record show, I ate one section. It was hearty and wonderful. I took the others home. I managed a taste of Cyndy’s sandwich, a Reuben and, hands down, the best I’ve ever had. Cyndy felt the same after just one bite. I have no pictures of her sandwich, not because Cyndy ate it too quickly, but the photos didn’t do justice to the culinary masterpiece.
Where the World Turns
As I looked about to see how many people were staring at me and my Monster Muffuletta, I noticed a variety of lunch folks: construction and office workers, a policeman, a couple of soldiers in uniform, mothers with children, the young and the elderly. Apparently, people from all walks of life recognize a good sandwich when they see it.
Blues and Deli Delights
The pairing of deli sandwiches and blues tunes is a winning combination. The music plays pleasantly in the background as diners woof down sandwiches ranging from NOLA-style po’boys to World’s Fair hot dogs to barbecued pulled pork.
If pizza is more your thing, (or if the Muffuletta doesn’t fill you up), head for the backyard and Melo’s Pizzeria, that owner Vince “Vinnie” Valenze operates from a jazzed up garage. The two spaces share a common patio.
Put this one on your list.
Blues City Deli. 2438 McNair in Benton Park neighborhood. Hours: Mon-Sat 11a-4p. Special Thursday night live music (see calendar on website). Closed Sunday. Owner: Vince “Vinnie” Valenza.