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Little Deli fans ?

  • Ken W Jan 23, 2007 12:09 PM
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Hey - any of you Austin hounds fans of Little Deli? (I did a search on Little Deli and came up empty, although with the technical problems the site seems to be having today that may not mean anything).

I've been living in and/or around the Crestview neighborhood for the last 10 years (just say no to Wal-Mart), and Little Deli is something of an institution here. It's in the same shopping area as the Crestview Mini-Max, on Woodrow a block north of Justin.

Until about 4 months ago, the place was owned and run by a spitfire of a lady (with a great memory) named Lecretia, but she sold the place to concentrate on their other restaurant, It's Italian up off Bratton Lane. The guy who bought it, Tony, was Lecretia's neighbor and is committed to keeping Little Deli just like Lecretia ran it for years. In my opinion, the place has not suffered with the switch in ownership.

There's a set menu of sandwiches which are always available, plus daily specials a few times a week. Their sandwiches are great - my favorites are the Wedge (an Italian hoagie style), the Roast Beef, Chicken Salad and Reuben. Many of the sandwiches include an olive tapenade which really adds a kick of flavor. Every other Tuesday they have Crawfish Etoufee as a special, which is as good as many I've had in both Texas and Louisiana (thank god Lecretia left Tony the recipe).

Most of the sandwiches are $6.25 (includes tax), so they aren't the cheapest sandwiches in town, but they are very good. And the place is tiny, so don't be surprised if you end up eating outside (there's several picnic tables and a gazebo). It's a classic little family run place that I think will be of interest to a lot of you.

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  1. Lucretia's Little Deli is a masterpiece. As far as I know, it is the best sandwich place in Austin.

    Couple things that are amazing about the place:

    First, if you tried to special order a sandwich that would be miserable, Lucretia would go into Soup Nazi mode and refuse to make it. Awesome.

    Second, Lucretia would remember customers by name, and bits of their life story. Every time I went in there, she would mock me mercilessly, but in a friendly and fun way.

    My favorite sandwiches there include the Italian Wedge, the Muffaletta, the Club on Rye, the Chicken Salad, the Reuben, and the Turkey Moz. Actually, the Turkey Moz has maybe too much turkey on it. But it is delicious.

    Glad to hear that the new owner is committed to keeping the spirit alive!

    1. i live 3 blocks from little deli. haven't been there most of winter, but i often hit up little deli when the weather is nice enough to take a walk there for lunch. i've always loved any sandwich i get there, and any of the specials (especially pot roast!). also love the desserts!

      1. i'm a HUGE fan of the Little Deli and It's Italian. The crispy beef tacos (which is every other Thursday) are some best that I've ever had!!

        The Wedge is a masterpiece! I agree, this is one of the *best* places to get a sandwich in Austin!

        1. I live near Little Deli/Mini-Max and noticed a big hubub yesterday. Anyone know what's going on over there? Yesterday morning it looked as if some new air conditioners were being installed (cranes/huge fans) but when I drove home from work there were several police men, fire trucks, etc. The entire parking lot was blocked off.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chispa_c

            Shooting of Friday Night Lights - just found out.

          2. I heart their vegetarian sandwich. Everything is meticulously sliced and arranged, much like an Italian glass mosaic.

            1. As a denizen of Crestview, and while I enjoy the sandwiches, I think it is a bit inconsiderate that the business hours are so limited. They are closed Saturday and Sunday, and I believe they close early in the afternoon--around 4PM. For such a prominent and essential member of the Crestview community, it seems as though their operating hours should be more reflective of the schedules of most community residents--New World Deli pulls this off nicely, I think. Thank goodness the IGA owners don't prize leisure as much as the New World Deli owners.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jackietreehorn

                If you don't like their hours, vote with your dollar: don't dine there.

                As for the business known as Little Deli: they choose their hours based on what makes them money. If they thought the market would support longer hours, I assure you that they'd extend them.

              2. I loved Lucretia's Little Deli, especially the amazing flourless chocolate cookies that they used to make. I've gone there a few times after the sale, and although the atmosphere was the same, they didn't make the Reuben like they used to. The afternoon crew that made the sandwich were people I hadn't seen before.

                I think Tony understands the spirit of the neighborhood, and I applaud his efforts to maintain consistency. Sadly, I think I have to find a new favorite sandwich there.

                2 Replies
                1. re: geebaby

                  I have not been in a year and a half, but I used to love the Reuben there. I am sad to hear it has changed.

                  1. re: geebaby

                    I'm always on the look out for flourless/gluten free stuff. Tell me more about those cookies. Do they make them there? Are they still available?

                  2. On this rec, I ordered a platter of half sandwiches for our company training (about 18 people). While the owner was super-nice, funny on the phone and very helpful in ordering a variety, I found the sandwiches themselves very uneven.

                    We ordered several of each: wedge, roast beef, chicken salad, ham and cheese and turkey provo.

                    I imagine the wedge would have been much better if it had just been me and I had ordered at the counter, but some hardly had anything on them (just bread, mostly) while others were stacked well with meat and toppings. I can see really enjoying it had circumstances been different.

                    Roast beef, turkey and ham were all well-made sandwiches, but nothing to blow your socks off. served on fluffy poppyseed buns and well dressed.

                    Chicken salad was just bland. Had plenty of those left over.

                    Got them with potato salad and spiral noodle salad. Potato salad was good, but of the mayo variety, so I'm not allowed to even comment. Noodle salad was flavorful and al dente. Liked the noodle salad.

                    Would I order from them again? Yes, the guys seemed to be fine with them (but like Jason's better for the price...) and was a good change of pace.

                    1. Today was my first trip to Little Deli, and I ate a "Traditional Italian Sub" - and I now feel that they need to change the name of the sandwich to " THE PERFECT ITALIAN SUB".

                      The Perfection lies in the quality of the ingredients, and their simple compliment to each other. No better Italian sub in Austin.

                      I would like to say that I am looking forward to trying another sandwich there, just to explore the menu. But I fear that I never will...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: d_fillpot

                        Have you had Mandola's Italian sub? It's my new favorite.

                        1. re: amysuehere

                          Mandola's - what bread do they use?

                          Little Deli - I must be ordering the wrong thing. I keep getting sandwiches on regular white or wheat (flour) bread like one would have at home. I remember going about eight years ago and I thought that it seemed like a sandwich that someone would serve if you visited their house or something. Pull out the Butter Krust, then add mayo, lettuce, and lunchmeat. My recent visit just reinforced that. Plus it was rather expensive.

                          Hog Island has my favorite bread for restaurant sandwiches.