Whenever I’m in a different state on vacation, I typically will look for places that I probably will never have the chance to eat at again — Or at least not be able to find within 100 miles of home. I’ll start out by reaching out to anyone I know in the area then I’ll move on to the internet trying to find anyone in the area who is writing about food. Sometimes I’ll simply do a search on Instagram for pictures of the food in the area and follow up with a search about the restaurant’s story. I prefer smaller places owned by some guy that decided one day that he was going to sell his food for a living. I think the story behind the food is almost as important as the food itself.
Enter Dad’s Favorite Deli, where a guy that cooked for family and friends for years decided to open up a little deli in 2008 in a random strip mall next to a gun shop and sell sandwiches, soups and his cheese spreads. Now when I say random strip mall, I mean that when you GPS it you’re led directly into a fence. From there, you must figure out for yourself that you must drive all the way around the fence (not into it, Michael Scott) and around a strip mall. After navigating to the front of the mall, you must look for the small sign pointing you in the direction of a hallway that shares a gun shop, a jewelry store and a coin laundry. In this hallway, sit five or six small tables and an open door all the way at the end. Here, from 11am-3pm Mon-Fri, Dad is open for business.
When you walk in to the small shop, the first thing you realize is Dad himself is making your food. There are a number of other employees but how many places can you go anymore where the owner is the one putting everything together and making sure your order is done correctly? The mystery location, the hallway and the presence of Dad make this such a better experience than going to some mass-produced sandwich shop where their only goal is to finish out their shift. Care seems to be put into ever tray that goes out of their little assembly line style kitchen.
Everything I read before my visit said the Asiago Pot Roast Sandwich was the way to go. This is exactly what it sounds like — pot roast and Dad’s Asiago Cheese Spread on French bread with a red pepper sauce for dipping that could probably making anything taste delicious. Seriously, that red pepper sauce is like crack. I ate there two hours ago and I’m still thinking about the taste. The beautiful part of this sandwich is the lack of bullshit. Four ingredients make up this sandwich, not one of them a “special” ingredient, but all four are done perfectly. The bread is soft with the smallest bit of crunch to add some texture, the pot roast is tender and the cheese adds a slightly smokey bite. The red pepper sauce tops it all off and adds a little tangy bite. Since I’m on my way to obesity I added a soup which for today was Mexican corn chowder and was equally as great as the sandwich. This entire meal cost me eight bucks.
Aside from the Pot Roast Sandwich Dad also offers seven other sandwiches, two soups made daily and macaroni and cheese. Every menu item uses a different version of his cheese speads, which you can order in the shop or through his website. On Tuesdays, he serves several different kinds of Tacos, in addition to the normal menu.
I absolutely love places like this. Some guy enjoyed cooking food for family and friends and bravely decided he would give it a go to do it professionally. This is what makes food so great — trying someone’s creations and knowing that they took a risk to serve it to you. There’s nothing flashy or special about Dad’s Favorites from the outside but once you avoid running into the fence and pass through a hallway filled with people eating his food, it’s quite obvious that Dad has created something special here. I can’t recommend it enough.