Three things are always true about the Bagel Deli. First, there's inevitably someone in line ahead of us arguing with the counter help over how to assemble his sandwich, proving that not only does the staff take sandwich-making seriously, but so do the customers. Second, there will always be someone who -- despite the big board listing all the available sandwiches and the glass-front deli cases showcasing every meat, fish, side, salad and knish in the joint -- asks for a ham sandwich. Whoever is working behind the counter will then patiently explain (for the thousandth time, no doubt) that this is a kosher-style deli, and that means no pork products, but how 'bout a nice smoked turkey instead? Third, there will always be fresh potato knishes and warm six-packs of Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray and black-cherry sodas available, and they're absolute necessities for any proper Jewish deli lunch. And there's none more proper than lunch at the Bagel Deli.


The Bagel Deli & Restaurant
Courtesy The Bagel Deli Facebook
Three things are always true about the Bagel Deli. First, there's inevitably someone in line ahead of us arguing with the counter help over how to assemble his sandwich, proving that not only does the staff take sandwich-making seriously, but so do the customers. Second, there will always be someone who -- despite the big board listing all the available sandwiches and the glass-front deli cases showcasing every meat, fish, side, salad and knish in the joint -- asks for a ham sandwich. Whoever is working behind the counter will then patiently explain (for the thousandth time, no doubt) that this is a kosher deli, and that means no pork products, but how 'bout a nice smoked turkey instead? Third, there will always be fresh potato knishes and warm six-packs of Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray and black-cherry sodas available, and they're absolute necessities for any proper Jewish deli lunch. And there's none more proper than lunch at the Bagel Deli.

At Chedd's, Dirk and Wendy Bruley have elevated the humble grilled cheese sandwich to an art, doing it better, smarter and in more wondrous variety than anywhere else in town. Grilled cheese is just about all they do at Chedd's, in a thousand different combinations that no one may have tried before. You want ham and limburger? Chedd's can do that. Bacon-studded cheese and salami on potato bread, or three different kinds of cheddar on twelve-grain bread? Chedd's can make those, too. With thirty cheeses, a dozen breads and innumerable meats, veggies, spreads and condiments available, Chedd's is the place where cheeseheads realize their most fervent sandwich fantasies.


At Chedd's, Dirk and Wendy Bruley have elevated the humble grilled cheese sandwich to an art, doing it better, smarter and in more wondrous variety than anywhere else in town. Grilled cheese is just about all they do at Chedd's, in a thousand different combinations that no one may have tried before. You want ham and limburger? Chedd's can do that. Bacon-studded cheese and salami on potato bread, or three different kinds of cheddar on twelve-grain bread? Chedd's can make those, too. With thirty cheeses, a dozen breads and innumerable meats, veggies, spreads and condiments available, Chedd's is the place where cheeseheads realize their most fervent sandwich fantasies.

Phil Collier, the owner of A La Tomate, is a man multiply obsessed. He and his kitchen do great pastries, decidedly Frog-ish pizzas that are both weird and wonderful, and also put out a sandwich board so full of high-class, high-quality ingredients that the only way to contain it is on a huge chalkboard hung behind the counter. Absolutely everything adorns this list, from snipped leaves of fresh basil, real chvre, Genoa salami and four different kinds of mustard to housemade olive-and-fig spread and French Brie so strong it tastes like your hands after a trip to a petting zoo (but in a good way), and while there are no prepared versions of sandwiches that you can order by name, the big board does offer maybe a dozen suggestions. Still, in the end it's up to you -- and with this much good stuff available, it would be hard not to come up with something wonderful.

Phil Collier, the owner of A La Tomate, is a man multiply obsessed. He and his kitchen do great pastries, decidedly Frog-ish pizzas that are both weird and wonderful, and also put out a sandwich board so full of high-class, high-quality ingredients that the only way to contain it is on a huge chalkboard hung behind the counter. Absolutely everything adorns this list, from snipped leaves of fresh basil, real chvre, Genoa salami and four different kinds of mustard to housemade olive-and-fig spread and French Brie so strong it tastes like your hands after a trip to a petting zoo (but in a good way), and while there are no prepared versions of sandwiches that you can order by name, the big board does offer maybe a dozen suggestions. Still, in the end it's up to you -- and with this much good stuff available, it would be hard not to come up with something wonderful.

The menu at Mikey's Italian Bistro is filled with well-executed Southern Italian dishes, from simple spaghetti and meatballs to calorie-laden lasagnas. But it's an off-the-menu item that's a must-have. Ask chef/owner Alaya Ouerfelli for a chicken-parm sandwich, and prepare to melt into food-coma delight. While too many chicken parms are made of old bird that's been breaded and flash-fried, Mikey's is tender and moist, with just the right amount of cheese and sauce poured on the fresh rolls. Menudo is touted as a hangover cure, but this sandwich always does the job for us.


The menu at Mikey's Italian Bistro is filled with well-executed Southern Italian dishes, from simple spaghetti and meatballs to calorie-laden lasagnas. But it's an off-the-menu item that's a must-have. Ask chef/owner Alaya Ouerfelli for a chicken-parm sandwich, and prepare to melt into food-coma delight. While too many chicken parms are made of old bird that's been breaded and flash-fried, Mikey's is tender and moist, with just the right amount of cheese and sauce poured on the fresh rolls. Menudo is touted as a hangover cure, but this sandwich always does the job for us.

Bernadette O'Dell's Zoot Sandwich is a frequent treat along Santa Fe Drive on First Fridays. Partly because the hot soppressata, roasted red pepper and mozzarella creation is so damned delicious, and partly because its namesake, Zoots by Suavecito's, is located on Santa Fe. Craig Peña, Suavecito's owner, frequented the deli so often that O'Dell finally named a sandwich after the gregarious haberdasher. Deli Italia is a New York-style treasure hidden in a suburban strip mall; you don't need to be a celebrity to come in and pick up a sandwich to eat in or take out, or browse through the aisles of gourmet foods.


Bernadette O'Dell's Zoot Sandwich is a frequent treat along Santa Fe Drive on First Fridays. Partly because the hot soppressata, roasted red pepper and mozzarella creation is so damned delicious, and partly because its namesake, Zoots by Suavecito's, is located on Santa Fe. Craig Pea, Suavecito's owner, frequented the deli so often that O'Dell finally named a sandwich after the gregarious haberdasher. Deli Italia is a New York-style treasure hidden in a suburban strip mall; you don't need to be a celebrity to come in and pick up a sandwich to eat in or take out, or browse through the aisles of gourmet foods.

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