A few months back, the company I work for moved our offices from Boise to Nampa, much too far away to make it to any of my former favorite lunch haunts. While many of my co-workers were content once they learned there is a Jimmy John's within driving distance, that didn't satisfy me. So, I started searching the nearby area, and one of the first eateries I stumbled upon was the 2nd Street Deli.
Though I'd never heard of the place until I happened to drive past it, they've apparently been in business for just about two decades. There's nothing fancy about the place. The interior is kind of cafeteria style, they don't bake their own bread, and they don't make super-decadent sandwiches. What they produce is kind of similar to something you would make at home to take for lunch at work, and while that is convenient (personally, I hate buying sandwich ingredients and then trying to use them all before they go bad, I'm sick of eating all of them by the time I finish), it's a little difficult to get excited about.
Don't get me wrong, the food isn't bad and the guy serving it is very friendly, but there's nothing that stands out about it. Here, let me just show you what I'm talking about.
|Veggie Delite with chicken noodle soup|
You have basically three options for sandwiches at 2nd Street Deli: a half sandwich for $3.99, a half sandwich and a cup of soup for $6.59, or a whole sandwich also for $6.59. On my first visit, I confused the situation by ordering the Veggie Delite, which is served on a croissant and therefore only comes as a whole sandwich for $4.99, so it doesn't really work with any of the aforementioned options. Gary, the proprietor, was nice enough to cut me a discount on a cup of soup (normally $3.99 when ordered alone) to make a meal out of it. The veggies in the Veggie Delite are lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sprouts and avocado. There is also cream cheese, though the menu makes no mention of it. As you can see, the fillings are in pretty standard proportions, no decadence here. I mostly dug this, though I wasn't crazy about the avocado, I was hoping for slices but instead they were mashed into a sort of a paste and used as a spread. The chicken noodle soup was the standard chicken, noodles, carrot and celery type and was cooked perfectly, but seriously lacking in flavor. I don't know what it is lately, but I seem to keep running into eateries who are going out of their way to avoid using even basic seasonings like salt and pepper.
|Birds of Prey|
On my next visit I decided to go for the half sandwich and soup combo. The sandwich I chose was the Birds of Prey, which is turkey (so maybe should just be "Bird of Prey"?) with avocado and two cheeses you get to select. All the standard sandwiches come with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, and mayo (mustard or oil and vinegar are available on request). I chose sourdough bread, and a combination of provolone and muenster cheeses (which is awesome, I mean how many sandwich places have muenster as an option?), and once again it was a mostly good sandwich with the exception of that damn avocado paste that I'd kind of forgotten about since my first visit.
I went with the potato soup this visit (there are always two or three different soups to choose from). It was rich, creamy, and bland. I was beginning to notice a pattern developing here...
Likewise with the potato salad, which I chose instead of the chips this time. I must have been in a mood for potatoes, that's all I can think of. Once again, prepared exceptionally well with the exception of the lack of seasoning. By this time, I'd pretty much decided to write the place off, but a co-worker who wanted to check it out convinced me to give them another shot. I let myself be swayed, but decided to switch things up.
|Italian Sub with chili|
The Italian Sub is pastrami, capacolla, and dry salami with Swiss and provolone, and I chose French bread this time. Even though I'd managed to avoid the avocado this time, it was still a pretty basic sandwich. The ingredients were good quality, but the overall result just isn't the kind of thing you look forward to all morning. The chili was a marked improvement over the soups but still could have used a little more salt, or better yet some heat.
The macaroni salad was similarly better than its potato-based cousin, but still lacking in flavor. Not much else to be said.
I really went back and forth on whether or not to even bother writing about this place, but I was encouraged to do so by a few people. And who knows? There are obviously people who enjoy or are looking for this type of homestyle fare. The place has been in business for twenty years after all, and from what I understand is a gathering place for retired servicemen and the like, so perhaps they're catering more to the type of crowd to whom salt intake is a very real concern. There's certainly nothing wrong with the physical execution of the food, and I'm sure if you dine in there is salt and pepper available to doctor up your soup. As for me, I'm usually on the move when I'm in the area and I desire a little more flare, so I don't think I'll be returning.
Food: Good ingredients prepared well, but the soups and sides lack seasoning and the sandwiches are nothing you couldn't make easily and cheaper at home.
Value: Pretty standard sandwich shop prices, but you don't get quite as much for the money.
Service: 2nd Street Deli shines in this regard, you couldn't hope for a nicer guy to wait on you.
Atmosphere: Diner/cafeteria style, clean, quiet and comfy.
Final Grade: C+