You’ll find a deli at just about every corner in the city. Even Walmart has its own deli where you can buy fresh cut meat and get a handful of different sandwiches as well. However, many people argue what qualifies as a deli and what should be called a corner store or sandwich shop.
Some say it’s all about the origin of the food, stating that a real deli offers food choices from all over the world, while others say it’s all about selling fresh cut meats and fish. Others say it’s more about freshly made food, turning a deli in a restaurant.
Most of the best delis, such as Schnucks, Albertsons and Publix will have a little of everything. To check which deli has the best of all choices, here’s a quick list of the five main items every deli should sell:
Every Deli Needs Fresh Sandwiches
Just about every deli will have cold wrap subs and sandwiches and you can warm them later when you get home. However, the best deli will have a hot sub or sandwich which you can eat right then and there. These are the best sandwiches in the world because all of the ingredients are bona fide fresh.
For example: at the deli at Publix you’ll find a whole Philly sandwich as well as both whole or half of Chicken Cordon Bleue, freshly cut and cooked to guarantee a delicious meal. Head over to Walmart and you’ll find turkey salad sandwiches and chicken salad sandwiches.
Whole Foods has some of the best sandwiches as well. Over at their deli you will find a very intricate Gourmet Italian sandwich as well as their signature Merchant’s Walk sandwich.
Every Deli Needs Ready to Heat Meat Cuts
Whether you need chicken cuts ready to be heated for a sandwich or ham slices ready for a quick meal, you should be able to get your meat cuts from a deli. After all, that is a delicatessen is all about – the best meat cuts in the world.
Every deli should offer the following meat choices:
- Asian BBQ
- Hand-breaded Chicken
- Different Varieties of Sausages
Most turkey slices and ham are best for sandwiches which are why many delis sell all sorts of sandwiches, both hot (ready-to-eat) and cold wraps which are eaten at home. These six choices need to be at every deli or else you will sooner or later find yourself hopping from deli to deli.
The Best Deli Has an “Assemble Your Own” Corner
While not really a requirement, the best delis will allow you to assemble your own meals and sandwiches from the selection of meat and vegetables that they have available. Why settle for the processed food at Subways when you can get fresh meat and cream cheese at a deli?
As mentioned, not every deli has to have one but it does become a major advantage. Some people want to taste the meat and bread before they spend more money and the best way is to allow the consumers to make their own meals or sandwich.
At Whole Foods they have an option to assemble your own meal for just under $10. You can of course go above this limit and keep adding ingredients to craft the meal or sandwich that you really want.
Some delis take it a step further and even offer a salad bar.
This level of flexibility makes for a very commendable deli and it also lets you know that the deli has a lot of confidence in their products.
The Best Deli Uses Organic Produce
The word “organic” is getting more and more confusing every day, getting to the point where it is used just as often as the word “natural” is. However, organic food has a more finite definition when compared to natural food.
Organic food refers to anything grown without the use of any processed chemicals. This means that chicken did not eat processed bird feed/chicken feed and instead grew on natural wheat and grains. The pigs that were used for pork and the cows used for beef did not eat grass grown with chemical fertilizers and they were not injected with all sorts of chemicals to spur their growth.
In other words, organic food is food grown naturally without any chemical feeds, vaccines, or others. If a cow grazed on chemically enhanced hay then they can no longer be labeled as “organic” because they have been contaminated by unnatural chemicals.
Every Deli Uses 100% Fresh Cuts
When you talk about fresh cuts you are referring to meat that hasn’t been cut for longer than forty-five minutes. When you walk into a deli and see cold wrap sandwiches they should be using ham that has only been recently on the chopping board. Anything longer and the meat is no longer a prime cut.
Fresh cuts aren’t just needed to guarantee good taste. Fresh cuts also guarantee cleanliness. That’s why delis like Safeway charge higher for their produce – after all, the skill and time it takes to guarantee everything sold is certified fresh cannot be easily replicated.