Not sure which deli to turn to for the finest cut meats and cheese? Looking for a great place for a hot sandwich or cold wraps for those thirty minute snacks at work? There are a lot of delis to choose but the finest of the bunch have specific traits and offers that you will most certainly need and want.
To help you choose the best deli, consider the following five steps:
Step 1: Meat, Meat, and More Meat
You’ll want to make sure they offer whole cuts which have already been cut and slightly cooked for flavoring, sectioned meat which has to be bonded using only organic materials, and processed meat such as everyone’s favorite sausage.
Delis are known for sandwiches and catering services but their primary focus should always be meat and poultry. It’s nice if they also sell fish and other seafood but this isn’t really a necessity. So long as they offer the freshest cuts of beef, pork, turkey, and chicken then you’re looking at a good deli.
Step 2: Hot and Cold Sandwiches
Buying a few pounds of freshly wrapped pork chop is all fine and dandy but many people go to delis for the sandwiches and meals. This is perhaps why many delis have blurred the line between their distinct aesthetic to that of a sandwich shop but there is no denying that a deli is the best place to get a freshly roasted turkey sandwich.
When choosing a deli you’ll want to look into their list of hot and cold sandwiches. What’s the difference?
A hot sandwich is one freshly made and ready to eat. This means the turkey, chicken, or ham was just sliced and cooked for flavoring only minutes ago. Many delis don’t even cook the meat until an order has been placed, guaranteeing 100% freshness.
Those are the sandwiches you eat immediately. If you want a fresh sandwich but you don’t intend on eating it until you get home then a cold wrap sandwich is what you’re looking for. The process is still the same, involving freshly cut and prepared ingredients and bread, but the sandwich is frozen and then wrapped.
This allows you to take it with you and heat it only when you’ll eat it.
Step 3: Catering Services Too
Delis aren’t sandwich shops even though they sell sandwiches and they aren’t meat shops even though they sell meat. A deli is a very intricate establishment that caters the best delicacies (hence the name deli or delicatessen) and these require more than a butcher – they require the finesse of a chef.
That’s why delis don’t just sell meat and sandwiches. They also offer some of the best catering services in town. Got twenty guests coming in for a small party at your home? Then worry not because some of the best delis such as those from Publix or even Safeway can prepare all the food for you.
Of course their catering services will primarily focus on meat and sandwiches but they may also offer fruit and vegetable salads, desserts, and more. The catering services of Albertsons and Schnucks in particular are some of the best that any deli can proudly boast of.
Step 4: Prices Between Being Affordable and Reasonable
You can get a sandwich over at any corner store for just $5 but it will cost you about $4 or $5 more when you’re getting one at a deli. It might sound ludicrous to some to pay over $10 for a sandwich but when you’re getting freshly prepared turkey or ham with freshly baked bread and raw vegetables, you’ll instantly taste the difference right on the first bite.
The prices at a deli sit between affordable and reasonable. Some food establishments charge way too much and others charge so low to the point of being questionable. When choosing a deli you’ll want to check if their price range is within the golden shade between those two.
A deli selling a quarter pound of Rotisserie chicken for $3-4 is just right but when you see prices drop to $1 or shoot up to $7 then you might want to ask why before you take a piece home. A gourmet Italian sandwich shouldn’t be lower than $7 and no higher than $12.
Step 5: Take a Sample
Every good deli lets their customers try a sample of their finest cuts. It is both a sign of confidence in their products and a means of assuring their consumers that the meat is fresh and well prepared. So when choosing a deli make sure you use this fact to your advantage. Take a sample of everything.
Thinking of buying a whole Rotisserie chicken or a roasted turkey for dinner? How about sweetened ham and sausages for a Saturday party? To make sure that the deli you’re in is the one you’ll spend money on, ask for a sample and see for yourself what the quality and taste is.