Anyone that knows me personally...as in you've eaten with me (really, that's all it takes to say you know me, trust it!)...knows that I love, love, LOVE crusty breads. With my sandwiches I make NO exceptions. If there is a toasted somethin' 'r other on the menu OR a panini section, you can go ahead and bet the farm I am ordering from one of those sections.
I was doing my usual trolling for "top" wherevers to eat and came across a name I hadn't heard before. I usually meander my way through "experts" ratings and figure out what's really worth trying that way. But this time...I went consumer on my choices. Right at the top of the customer favorites on a number of different sites and on a number of people's lips is a place called Chappy's Deli. I'm not a local, but I know what my brain pictures when I hear the word "deli" and it is not "restaurant".
Chappy's Deli - Perry Hill
My Mister, our Wubby and I strolled in around 5:45 and were seated right away. Love it when that happens during the dinner hour. They were already making me happy. We got a nice comfy booth seat. Which I LOVE. Right by the dessert cabinet...which my Mister LOVES. (He actually ordered his dessert to come before the entree. Brave soul...I'd run out of room.) They helped us situate our son in his high chair and we got down to business. Ordering. I ordered the Muffaletta Panini....
Lovely booth seating
While we waited for our entrees, which was NOT long AT all, I walked around like I always do. This "deli" didn't FEEL like a deli at all. It felt like an upscale home diner. The decor and art gave it a wonderfully modern feel while the deli counter and cold cases up front were PACKED with ready to go, made fresh that day salads and sandwiches just like the deli down the corner would have. It was pretty cool.
So the food comes, the moment of truth....
My Muffaletta Panini had Italian olive salad layered with salami, ham, provolone cheese on "Italian Muffaletta bread." What's Muffaletta bread you ask? Let me tell you...the bread is a large, round, and somewhat flattened loaf with a sturdy texture and will typically have sesame seeds in it or on it. It has been compared to focaccia bread, but I would only support that comparison if you're talking shape of the loaf, not flavors. Chappy's muffaletta bread was a might bit thinner than the traditional loaves I've made and seen in stores. BUT...lest we forget, THIS is a PANINI, so it was an appropriate thickness in my opinion. Normally these sandwiches are heated through until the provolone melts and that's it, never toasted. Which is why I ordered this, it was an interesting spin on something I have always loved.
The olive spread in the sandwich was very salty, I deduced this happened because the olive spread was more green olive than anything else. I just wasn't expecting it. But, my water with lemon cut right through it. The meats were fabulous and not overly salty so that balanced it out on the back end with the help of the provolone. One corner of the bottom of my sandwich was fairly wet from the olive spread, which really only meant it didn't toast completely in that spot. Who cares.... It was a good sandwich, and solid conceptually. It came with my choice of chips or for a little extra onion rings, french fries or sweet potato fries. I was going to get onion rings with the sandwich rather than the chips. I should have, if those rings had any sweet in them at all, it would have made the salt level in the sandwich feel more muted. Live and learn.
When it was getting close to time to leave our waitress asked us if we had room for dessert. My Mister had already partaken of his delight before his Brazilian Chicken Wrap came. She knew that...she wanted to know if I wanted anything. I have to stay away from refined sugars. "Do you have sugar free or no sugar added desserts?" The answer is usually "Sorry, no we don't." That's not the answer I got last night. Meet the Chappy's Deli Sugar Free New York Cheesecake Parfait....
Sugar Free New York Cheesecake Parfait
It was SERIOUSLY good. I was surprised that to find that her assertion of "You won't even know its sugar free." was true. Usually you can taste artificial sweeteners in ANYthing they are in. Not so. This parfait was creamy, the fruit was fresh and firm and the flavors really tickled the senses.
Chappy's Deli converted me. The consumers have spoken...and they got it right. Not only would I go back, but I'd have the same thing again. The staff there are kind, patient and knowledgeable. It is always nice when the people know their menu, know their ingredient list and can really spend more time making your experience a good one. The environment was just right for a family on a week night looking for something that tasted good, didn't cost a arm & a leg and that had a smile to offer in every direction you looked. I didn't see a single person that wasn't smiling while they were eating or smiling as they did their job. I'm going back to try the "Windy City" panini next!