Nothing in the world of sandwiches rivals a corned beef on light rye with spicy mustard; except perhaps hot, lean pastrami on pumpernickel with spicy mustard and a can of cream soda. That's a pretty exotic wish in this town, however.
But as the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait -- or, in this case, those who drive far enough east.
Not east, as in New York east, but east as in the Galley Plaza Shopping Center on the northeast corner of Galley and Wooten. There, the opus to many years of waiting, wishing and wondering -- wondering when hell was going to freeze and a New York-style deli would descend upon our fair city -- came to a sudden halt. As I was driving east on Galley recently, at the posted speed limit, the word deli flashed in my peripheral vision. Hallucination, dyslexic moment? Who knew? But it was incentive enough to pull a U-turn and go back for a closer look.
Indeed, it was the word deli, preceded by the words New Yorker. Now, lots of restaurants boast the word deli in their title. I was at a deli just the other day which served burritos and lasagna. Technically, that's not a deli.
Colorado Springs does, in fact, have some technically correct delis, and some mighty fine ones at that. But a delicatessen and a New York-style deli are like apples and oranges. There are plenty of spots in town to get a loaf of rustica bread, some of the finest, thinly shaved smoked turkey, an exquisite brick of baby Swiss and eight different types of gourmet mustards and pickles. But that ain't a corned beef on rye -- which brings me back to the New Yorker Deli.
When I walked in, I immediately noticed the fully stocked coolers, offering a diverse selection of beverages, including glass bottles of chocolate Yoohoo and bottles of cream and orange-cream soda. Very comforting.
The surroundings and atmosphere were comfortably familiar too -- nothing fancy, just regular diner-style, faux-wood tables, metal frame chairs with vinyl cushions, wood paneled walls with vintage black-and-white pictures of the Big Apple, and a stack of the day's newspapers on the corner table for good measure. Simple, yet functional.
There's no counter seating, but that's just fine, because instead, there is a deli case that runs almost the entire length of the shop, stocked with an abundance of fresh meats, sausages, salamis, cheeses, knishes, a huge assortment of fresh deli salads, pepperoncini's, olives, fat kosher pickles, hot meatballs, and fresh veggies and assorted condiments for sandwich making. If you are one of those who hankers for liverwurst or egg salad, the New Yorker's got that too. When all's said and done, there are 22 different sandwiches available. Last but not least, bread selections include rye, pumpernickel, wheat, white or homemade subs or round rolls.
The sandwiches are huge. You can order either a half or whole and usually half is plenty for one person. The only downside to the sandwich deal is that they come naked -- the only freebies are mustard and mayo. Lettuce, tomato, cheese and other fixins cost extra. Worth it though.
The New Yorker Deli was well worth the U-turn and the long, long wait. It's about as close to the real deal as I've seen and eaten since I hit Colorado Springs. Rumor has it two more New York-style delis are coming to town soon. One in the downtown area, and one over in the sprawl off Garden of the Gods Road. Until those materialize and prove themselves worthy, though, I'll continue to head east.