While I was driving around in Hixson this weekend I saw Nick’s Deli on Hixson Pike and I noticed that parking was overflowing. I knew it must be a good place! It looked like it had once been a little shop or drug store and it still had one aisle of shelving where they displayed their chips that you can choose with your sandwich.
I went up to the counter and asked the boy how long they had been there and he said he thought about 10 years. I spied a man going back and forth through the kitchen opening and up behind the counter making sure everything was running smoothly. I assumed that was ‘Nick’.
I looked a menu over and decided on the Twisted Rueben for $6.39. I had never tasted pastrami before. I like salami but I didn’t like corned beef, so I wasn’t sure what pastrami would taste more like, but was willing to give it a try. The boy behind the counter said, “Chips and a drink?” in an assuming tone so I automatically said yes, but I really wanted the artichoke salad instead of chips. Then he asked me if I would want a pickle. I asked if the sandwich with chips came with a pickle and he said, “Yes, but we don’t want to waste it and some people never eat the pickle.”
Well I know that I have been one of those people if the pickle looked flat, so before I made that commitment I asked, “Are your pickles flimsy?” He assured me they were crunchy, so I said I would like a pickle.
I picked out my chips and chose ‘Stacy’s pita simply naked’ chips. I always go for the interesting names. I sat down at a table and shortly, the owner Nick hollered out my number for me to get my plate. The Rueben sandwich was hot with melted Swiss and sauerkraut on pumpernickel bread. I also had never tried pumpernickel bread. While I jotted down my notes, I was afraid that my sandwich would get cold or that the kraut would make the bread soggy, but the sandwich was hot enough to wait and the pumpernickel bread was the perfect bread to hold the kraut. My sandwich was wonderful!
I tasted a bit of the meat first, to see if I like pastrami. At first I thought it was too red for me, but I ate another bite and decided I liked it. The flavor of the mustard, kraut and Swiss blended so well on the pumpernickel. I don’t know what the ‘twist’ was but I sure liked it.
I noticed that Nick would bob back and forth from the kitchen to welcome everyone who came into the deli. He called them by name. I could tell he was from the New York area, but he didn’t smile much - his mind was busy.
With trying new flavors and liking them, I wondered if I was becoming a ‘foodie’ like my granddaughter, but I think to be a foodie you have to know the lingo and I don’t. I just say whatever pops out of my mouth.
There were all sorts of people coming in, golfers, teenage girls, businessmen, housewives and even people my age! It seemed that everybody loved Nick’s. I kept observing this special little place as I ate my sandwich. I am glad I chose the naked chips because it let the flavor of the sandwich be the star.
The counter also had a display case of Boars Head deli meats that I guess they sold aside from sandwiches. I was getting full on just one half of the sandwich and I thought about the boy not wanting people to waste food. I couldn’t take the rest with me because I had somewhere to be afterward. I did my best not to waste my sandwich and, when the boy walked by my table to bring someone something, I let him see me eating my pickle (which was not flimsy or flat, I liked the pickles).
I attempted a few bites of the other half of the sandwich, but I just couldn’t eat it all. When I put my napkin on my plate I looked to see if I needed to take my plate somewhere or if they took care of that. Just then Nick looked at me and asked, “Did ya handle that alright?” I told him I did my best and that it was very good. He let out the most dazzling smile with his perfect teeth! That made my day. He needs to smile more often, he has a pretty smile.
I asked what I needed to do with my plate and he said to leave it and they would take care of it. When I watched him running things the whole time, I could tell he was from the generation that took care of the customer. What a nice man.
It always pleases me to give out a Willie Mae “whee-e-e doggie!” Nick’s Deli sure deserves one! If you haven’t tried this place, you need to …and tell them Willie Mae sent you.
10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.