Fight Club Sandwich: Mom's Deli vs. LeGrand's Market. South City Deli Duel. BRING IT.
The always-impartial Gut Check will now preside over a deli duel between these two venues based on a apples-to-apples comparison: The Mom's Special vs. The Legrand's Special.
|Photo by Nicholas Phillips|
Background: Delores Vago (or "mom") has retired, but her two sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughter have kept the place humming along. Mom's has been doing sammies for 33 years.
When RFT crowned the joint Best Delicatessen in 2005, much was made about waiting in line. And on a recent weekday, there was indeed a line stretching to the front door.
But thanks to a staff that makes, wraps and rings up sandwiches at lightning speed, that line moves super fast. Plus, the clientele was familiar with each other, quite chatty and by all accounts deeply supportive of the Cardinals.
The chip selection is standard with some cool additions, such as Old Vienna Red Hot Triplets, Jay's Salt and Sour, and Pelican Bay White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn.
The Sammy: turkey, ham, roast beef, munchee cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, homemade 1000-Island dressing.
The Skinny: The Mom's Special is a saucy affair, as they pour on enough 1000-island dressing to probably submerge 1,000 actual islands. But the bread -- from Fazio's bakery -- is quite fresh. The veggies were what you'd expect. The meat equals about 1/3 lb. It's a filling sandwich.
|Photo by Nicholas Phillips|
|The LeGrand's Special (bread looks smooshed thanks to your reporter's indelicate handling).|
Background: LeGrand's -- one of St. Louis' very last Tomboy grocery shops -- is larger than Mom's. It's a bona fide family-owned supermarket that's been making sandwiches seriously since the late '90s, and now has 46 to choose from (while Mom's has about 30). RFT named it Best Delicatessen last year.
The space is far less intimate than mom's, and the in-line chats not as loud. At lunch hour, it might take slightly longer to get your food here. The chip selection is huge (50+ options), with such oddball favorites as Uncle Ray's Dill Pickle and Oke-Doke Onion Rings.
Roast beef, corned beef, turkey, cheddar, lettuce, tomato
The Skinny: There's a bit more meat on this one -- about 0.46 lb. And it seems to be of higher quality: LeGrand's cooks their own roast beef and corned beef. The ham comes from Miller's, steps away from the Lemp Brewery off Antique Row, while the turkey is Boar's Head. The bread is from Fazio's. Veggies are what you'd expect.
Mom's Deli has a longevity, character and familiarity that makes it special to a lot of people. Plus, the Mom's Special is a great sandwich for the price.
But the LeGrand's Special has more and better meat, and a tasteful amount of sauce. The chip selection is wider. And for basically the same price.
LeGrand's is the winner.