I’ve driven by Better Foods Deli countless times all the while thinking it was a convenience store which had a tiny counter of a deli inside. Despite having “deli” in the name, that’s all I could imagine what I saw it from the street. Today I headed out aimlessly looking for lunch. I almost went to Mas Mexican to use a Groupon that expires this month but I decided to use it for dinner later this week instead to get more value out of it. Driving down Douglas the deli caught my eye. I mentally shrugged, thought “why not,” and made a U-turn.
Parking is very limited in this tiny lot, but there was only one other car there when I arrived, and the driver of that car was leaving as I headed in. Again, I was still expecting to walk in to a convenience store with cramped aisles and a questionable deli counter in the back corner, so I was quite surprised when I stepped through the door. It truly is a proper deli. There are tables along the front and side walls. In the middle is the kitchen area and on the other side are coolers with bottled beverages. This place has been open for 42 years, and it shows with the amount of Giants/49ers memorabilia and classic Pepsi and Coke bottles that have accumulated. It actually makes Parker’s Hot Dogs collections look tiny in comparison. Towards the end of my lunch a man came in looking to buy or trade to acquire some of the bottles that were on display.
The sole employee (maybe owner?) was behind the large refrigerated display case slicing meat when I walked in. I spent some time looking over the menu and decided that a corned beef sandwich sounded pretty good. He finished slicing and came to the front to take my order, where he showed me the list of available breads, cheeses and the standard fixings, all hanging from the center of the larger menu. I went with a dutch crunch roll, the standard Monterey jack cheese, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. To drink I grabbed a Henry Weinhard’s Vanilla Cream soda from the cooler. While he made my sandwich I grabbed my other lens from the car (which I didn’t bring in since, once again, I thought I was walking into a convenience store and kind of expected to be taking my sandwich to go) and took a seat. Just a few minutes later I had my lunch in front of me.
I don’t often drink cream soda because it can be so crazy sweet and isn’t always all that refreshing. Sometimes though, particularly in places like this, I get a hankering for one. This Henry Weinhard’s is definitely on the sweeter side. It was pretty strong overall and enjoyable. The corned beef sandwich really hit the spot. The beef was tasty and moist and the veggies were all fresh and crisp. I love a good dutch crunch roll. The Mr Pickles near my work has really good ones, especially when you show up early and they are fresh. This one was very good, soft throughout but with the crunchy top that adds so much fantastic texture.
I’m really excited to have tried this deli. This is exactly the local, hold-in-the-wall type of place I hoped to find when I set out on this mission. I wonder who else has glanced at the front of Better Foods Deli and then moved along without realizing what they just passed up. If you’re in the mood for a sandwich I highly recommend you check them out.