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Schiller's German Deli in Tampa

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This past Saturday, we had planned on having lunch at Wright's, but after walking up and seeing the line to the door, we switched to a back-up plan. A friend of Traci's had told her about a little German deli on Manhattan so off we went in search of it. A few minutes later we came upon the fore-mentioned deli, Schiller's German Delicatessen, at the corner of Manhattan and El Prado.

It turns out that Schiller's is one of the oldest delis in Tampa. The deli was opened by the Schiller family in 1952 and has been owned and operated by the Trunk family for the past twenty-three years. There are a few shelves of German foods and a German beer section in the back of Schiller's, but the main attraction at the little place is clearly the deli and its long list of German sandwiches.

I decided to give the trademark Schiller sandwich a try- piled with meats, cheeses and cole slaw on rye - and Traci decided upon a turkey sandwich on an onion roll. I also ordered a side of cole slaw. We sat at one of the handful of tables and both enjoyed our sandwiches. Traci said it felt like we were eating a sandwich in grandma's kitchen and I couldn't agree more. Everyone was friendly.

On the way out, we noticed that Schiller's also offers a lunch plate special, which includes your choice of two different types of sausages, and also offers all-beef hot dogs. Schiller's is also open for breakfast. While the sandwiches weren't as big as what you'll get at Wright's, they were tasty and cost a few bucks less. I hate lines so not having to wait forever was a big plus as well.

We'll definitely be adding Schiller's to our list of local sandwich joints that we visit. While my favorite remains Wright's, Schiller's has its own charm and is a good second choice, as is Italian market and deli Castellano & Pizzo down the road on Manhattan. The no-frills Interbay Meat Market, south of Gandy (SOG) on Interbay and MacDill, also turns out good, hefty-sized sandwiches.

Three other local sandwich shops I have on my list to try out in the coming months includes Zudar's on Platt near Bayshore Blvd, Mott & Hester Deli on Dale Mabry, tucked into a strip center almost across the street from Wright's, and the well-known Mazzaro's Italian Grocery on 22nd St. in St. Pete.

Bottom-line: The next time you're faced with a long line at Wright's, consider heading over to Schiller's German deli for tasty sandwiches in a homey setting. You'll save a few bucks, too.

matt
FloridaFoodHound
http://www.flfoodhound.com

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  1. You are going to be so happy when you finally trek down to Mazzaro's

    3 Replies
    1. re: rhnault

      Well we went to Mazarro's last Sat and you were right :)

      matt
      FloridaFoodHound
      http://www.flfoodhound.com

      Continuing our quest to find the best sandwich shop in the Bay, we headed over to Mazzaro's Italian Market on 22nd Ave. in St. Pete for lunch this past Saturday. Why I've lived in Tampa for a year and a half now, and haven't been to Mazzaro's before now is beyond me. I thought Castellano & Pizzo Italian Foods on Henderson in Tampa was a great place, and it is, but the much larger Mazzaro's is in a class by itself.

      After fighting through the Saturday afternoon crowds to check out Mazzaro's many aisles of Italian foods, including a huge wine and cheese selection, and every other goodie imaginable, we got in line at the deli. Traci decided upon a meatball sandwich (peer pressure from Sticks readers? Just kidding). I went with a muffuletta sandwich, as I was curious to taste what Mazzaro's version of a muffuletta was like. The muffuletta is an Italian sandwich that was invented in New Orleans, which is where I grew up. The deli guy serving us cautioned that the Mazzaro's version of the sandwich wasn't served on real muffuletta bread (a large round loaf of Italian bread), but assured me that it was still very good.

      After enjoying peering in the deli cases at all sorts of prepared dishes while we waited for our sandwiches to be made, we took our sandwiches outside to the back patio. My sandwich was huge and tasty, but really shouldn't have been called a muffuletta. Not only was the bread different, but it didn't have enough olive salad on it. That said, it was very good. Traci loved her meatball sub and let me try a few bites of the sloppy goodness. It was dripping with sauce and the meatballs themselves were great. Both sandwiches were only five bucks each and we had to take half home.

      After passing the bakery and dessert section of Mazarro's, we couldn't pass up the home-made gelato We were tempted to just keep trying samples, as they were all so good, but we finally decided upon a small cup of banana caramel for me and pistachio for Traci. Both were delicious and I think stopping for a "gelato break" may be a requirement for all future visits. A small gelato is only two bucks. There is also a gourmet coffee bar area and a butcher and produce area in the front of the store.

      We definitely plan to visit again and spend more time exploring the store, hopefully when it's not so jammed. If there is one downside to the place, it's that it was packed when we visited. This doesn't look like a place that you can get in and out of quickly. All of the employees we encountered, though, were friendly and helpful. Given the uniqueness of the place, I can certainly understand the crowds and it's great to see such strong support for a local business.

      Bottom-line: Whether you're in the mood for huge, fresh sandwiches from the deli, delicious pastries or gelato from the bakery, or a grocery full of imported foods, there's seemingly something for everyone at Mazzaro's. The only downside I found was navigating the crowds and the lines.

      1. re: tastetampabay

        Matt, I'm so glad you finally made it to Mazzaro's. Saturday's are really crazy there. Went for lunch today the special Panini of the day was eggplant with spinach, ricotta and a marinara sauce. Pretty darn tasty. They did raise there prices from $4.50 to $5.00, still an incredible bargin for what you get.
        I can't wait to try Schiller's.

        1. re: tastetampabay

          I'm so glad you finally made it!
          You are a brave soul to go on a Saturday lol

      2. I know, no excuses why we haven't gone to Mazzaro's yet, that may be my mission for this sat :)

        1. In 1996/97 I lived a few blocks from Schiller's. It was great then. I'm glad to hear it still is going strong and turning out great chow. Just with that there was something that good within walking distance from my house now!

          1. Schillers makes a great German pancake, with apples and brown sugar, so be sure to go there for breakfast. I'm not that crazy about the sandwiches but I'm glad someone's patronizing this local spot. It is difficult to fathom how they stay in business. Especially because they can be downright surly.

            I used to love Mott & Hester but I ordered 2 sandwiches the other day and they were both a little too salty for my tastes. But they generally have fresh grouper and good bread and soup.

            Mazzaro's could benefit from an extended menu but I guess being a restaurant is not at the top of their list. They now have a wine room which was interesting.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tandoori Girl

              Now I want to try Schillers for breakfast too :)

              Interesting re: Mott & Hester. I also want to try Zudar's and someone told me to go on the weekends for better service and seemed to suggest the sandwiches were good, not great.

              Any local sandwich joints I'm missing that you love? Thanks-

              matt

            2. You didn't mention Pané Rustica on MacDill, which requires a second mortgage but is very good. I've not frequented Zudar's as much since it moved from its 2 previous locations that were closer to my westshore side but it's always been good. there is always a small mob of people at the deli on Henderson north of Dale Mabry, can't recall the name, though I think their sandwiches are boring. Louie Pappas on Bay to Bay has good sandwiches (although I usually have a salad). On Dale Mabry just north of Kennedy is a cuban/puerto rican place that has arrepas. Don Pan? Is that the name? They are very good and very cheap.

              There is a old-time Tampa place called Schraams with hot roast beef sandwiches and hot peppers that was on the Clearwater Causeway. I hear that, because of the construction, it's moved to somewhere near the airport. I am hoping to get there soon.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Tandoori Girl

                you're thinking of Charann's and it has moved to Hillsborough Ave. It's just west of the Vets on the righthand side in the same plaza as a pizza buffet and a Japanese steakhouse. They moved probably at least 5 years ago. It's a dive bar with a devoted clientele. I've been there once years ago and it was OK. I'd have to try it again to know whether or not to recommend it.

              2. Hadn't heard of Schraam's before and have passed the various Louis Pappa's around the area but never stopped into one. Guess I should give them a try. Have been to Pane Rustica once for dinner where they offer table service, was good, but definitely not cheap. Thanks for the additional ideas.

                1. The first time I ate at Schillers was in the mid 60's as a teenager, and through the years I've given it an occasional try. Each time I've been underwhelmed with the sandwiches but the last time I visited was about 1990 so perhaps I should drop in and see if I like it better. Pane Rustica made one of the best sandwiches I've ever eaten and I love Castellano and Pizzo's sandwiches and I've never had a sandwich at Mott and Hester that wasn't delicious and dripping with garlic flavor.

                  1. Wright's quality is not near what it once was (you call THAT a reuben???), and the lines are just too long. Mott & Hester, Schiller's, and Castellano/Pizzo all great with personalized service, unique flavors, tastes and smells. I can't leave Schiller's without taking home a few German gourmet treats. Ted's (Mott & H) seafood gumbo absolutely as good as anything comin' outta New Orleans!!

                    1. Mott & Hester used to be my favorite lunch place when I worked in south tampa. I always got a turkey and jack pepper cheese sandwich that was out of this world. I tried going a few months ago on a weekend, early evening, and they were unfortunately closed. Castellanos was also a favorite. I miss them both! I think I read that the Castellanos cafe is now open on saturdays?