No matter where you live, having a great deli nearby as a delicious and fresh lunch option is something that most foodies can agree is an essential requirement in life. I mean, really…who doesn’t love deli sandwiches? Most of the time they’re healthier, lighter, and easier to handle than, say, a giant burger or your favorite pizza. And when you find a really good shop, it’s pretty much “your place” for life, right? Enter Neighbor’s Deli. For me, this is MY new place. And all that stuff I said about healthier and lighter food? Oh, they can do that if you want, but it’s not the norm here. Here, they pile the meat so high that you can barely see over the lid! But even more than that, do you want to know my favorite thing about this place? It’s that they’re doing the same thing with breakfast sandwiches, too!!
I first learned of Neighbor’s Deli through a blog post that Jim Ellison of CMH Gourmand wrote a few years ago, where he told about his misadventures in tackling the Deli’s behemoth eating challenge known as The Monolith (A sandwich so huge that it makes the Dagwood wet itself). I’ll save the details on that particular menu item for a future post when I can brag about how I put it down like the culinary demon that it is (I will defeat you, Monster!!).
Neighbor’s Deli is located in a strip of shops on Henderson Rd., and is right next door to another U.A. breakfast favorite, Cuco’s Taqueria. The space is compact, but is bright and clean. It’s designed to steer you right toward the order counter, where the shop’s owner, John, and his staff slice up your favorites.
The dining room is a simple space, and I’m told by John that they usually get pretty packed around the lunch rush during the week and for breakfast on Saturdays when there’s an early Ohio State game. Luckily for us, the Buckeyes were playing a night game on the day we visited, and we avoided the crowds until folks started filing in for lunch around 11.
Written on chalkboards that stretch the length of the inner wall, Neighbor’s deli menu is quite impressive. As you can imagine, most of the items are huge sandwiches, like monster reubens, clubs, grilled melts, hoagies, scrollers (wraps) and more. Much of the menu is comprised of John’s specialty creations – combinations of just the right ingredients discovered simply through trial and error.
The breakfast menu is small, but huge. I dare you to find something on this six-item menu that you wouldn’t love. Seriously.
We decided to order from both the breakfast menu and the regular menu during this visit. I opted for the Cheesesteak & Eggs ($8.00), which was recommended by the owner, himself. It was an enormous sandwich with equally enormous flavors – thinly sliced, marinated sirloin steak, grilled sweet peppers, onions (maybe just a tad too many for me), white American cheese, and two fried eggs stuffed into a fresh, homemade 7-inch hoagie roll. This was truly the ultimate breakfast sandwich. John asked me to try a “secret sauce” he’d been working on, and honestly, my best guess is that it was a simple combination of honey mustard/barbeque/hot sauce, and it worked really well with the cheesesteak.
Mrs. Grub Guy ordered the California ($5.50), a terrific sandwich made with eggs, cheddar cheese, sliced avacado, and about a half pound of bacon! Seriously, this thing was HUGE for a half-sandwich (the picture really doesn’t do it justice)! She ordered it on Sun-dried tomato, but also had the option of several other breads or one of their fresh, house-made bagels. Being the bacon fan that she is, she enjoyed this sandwich tremendously. And the crispy cheese around the edges was a surprise bonus :)
When we first arrived, the boy saw a row of hoagies being prepared for another order, and decided that was what he wanted, nevermind that this was our first meal of the day. So, we ordered him a half-sized Roast Beef & Turkey Club Hoagie ($5.75). Forget those stingy chain places, this is the way a hoagie is supposed to look!! It was piled high with fresh turkey, roast beef, bacon, mayo and veggies. He ate half of the half, and was full. Big sandwich.
Here’s a look at another beauty, The Undertaker ($5.75/half). John told me that he named this sandwich after a friend of his, who worked in a funeral parlor, asked him to make him a sandwich. It’s an absolutely huge sandwich made with fresh-sliced roast beef, which is grilled and layered with Swiss, a mountain of delicious cole slaw, and horsey sauce, cradled between two slices of grilled, marbled rye. You definitely need some sturdy, plastic utensils for this one. It’s a bit messy, but the flavor is incredible!! This is one of my favorites so far, but I’ve only tried about a half-dozen items on the menu…I’ve still got a long way to go!!
We finished our meal with some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies ($1.00/3) upon the boy’s request. Dessert after breakfast? I mean, sure…why not!
As you can see, nothing that Neighbor’s Deli does is small. If you’re a fan of deli, or breakfast, or lunch, or just food in general…you have got to check this place out! I’ve been several times now, and honestly everything I’ve ordered has been super fresh and delicious. It’s obvious that John and his staff are focused on two main points: Great food and customer satisfaction. I’d say they are excelling at both.
Pro tip: During the Buckeyes’ season, Neighbor’s offers a tremendous “Game Day Special” – any two, large hoagies for only $16.99! What a great deal!!
Neighbor’s Deli is located at 2142 Henderson Rd, Columbus, OH 43220 (Map). They are open Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Saturday 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and Sunday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM. For more info, visit them on Facebook and at their website.