Gas first, then food

Pam Granado slices, Kelly Turner tops and Josh Leonard wraps hearty sandwiches at Deli Towne USA.

Pam Granado slices, Kelly Turner tops and Josh Leonard wraps hearty sandwiches at Deli Towne USA.

Photo By David Robert

The usual sorts of food available at a place that also sells gasoline don’t appeal to me as constituents of a meal. Chips, jerky, candy, beer, nuts—if I were to try and sustain myself with such fare, I would quickly find myself with a bellyache. So I was surprised to hear rumors that there was a gas station in town that was worth the food.

Deli Towne USA is lodged within the Lakeside Crossing Shell station. It serves sub sandwiches with a wide selection of meats (smoked ham, pastrami, cappicola) and cheeses (American, pepper jack, mozzarella) on an equally wide selection of breads (sourdough, jalapeño). Their listed prices for small (5-inch, $5.59), medium (8-inch, $7.79), and large (12-inch, $10.99) include up to four meats or cheeses and a variety of other fixings, vegetable or otherwise.

Danielle and I had medium sandwiches. I took a classical approach and had turkey with provolone and Swiss on white with all the traditional fixings except onion. Danielle ordered tuna and cheddar on focaccia with all the veggies, mustard and “no mayonnaise!” which she repeated adamantly at least three times.

Before she ordered, Danielle carefully asked if it was plain tuna or a tuna salad. The counterperson said that it was just plain tuna but when he opened up the container, it was clearly some sort of tuna salad—he apologized for his mistake and asked if she still wanted it, but Danielle said to go ahead. She told me later that she felt like, for whatever inexplicable reason, she was “past the point of no return” on having tuna.

I was happy with my sandwich. The meat and cheeses were thickly sliced and flavorful and didn’t have the slimy, plastic flavor of some sub places. All the ingredients were piled Dagwood Bumstead-high, and the bread tasted fresh.

Danielle had some complaints. The vegetables—the avocado especially—weren’t as fresh as she would have liked. She attributed this to it being late in the day. She had trouble maintaining the structural integrity of her sandwich (and I quietly attributed this to her not knowing how to properly manage a full sandwich). There was, of course, mayonnaise in her tuna salad, and the most vehement disdain for any sort of food is exhibited by those who detest mayonnaise.

I myself love mayonnaise and thoroughly enjoyed the mayonnaise on my sandwich and a side of mayo-heavy noodle salad ($1.79).

There was one issue, however, about which I did have to side with Danielle. The deli-workers who prepared our sandwiches were slightly attitudinal and were not wearing gloves. The glovelessness wouldn’t have really bothered me if we didn’t see them go on a cigarette break right after preparing our food. Also, they were smoking right in the store, in a partitioned-off area with slot machines that was probably deemed the “smoking area.” I was thoroughly enjoying my sandwich and was disheartened to note what might have been questionable health practices.

Still, despite this, I would consider my experience at Deli Towne USA a positive one. My sandwich was good, service was friendly overall, prices reasonable. It seems like a good place to go for a workday lunch, and they have a lunch special that includes soup and a soda (medium $10.99). And if you need to get gas, you can do it at the same stop.