Dagwood's paradise

Roxie Deli

Roxie Deli

1800 15th St.
Sacramento, CA 95811

(916) 447-6943

Good for: huge custom sandwiches and daily barbecue specials

Notable dishes: barbecue sandwiches, all-day breakfast sandwiches

Depending on where you’re from, the word “deli” can provoke all sorts of longings. Some might expect mile-high pastrami on rye, Italian cold cuts and meatballs, subs with dressing, or loose meat sandwiches. Here in Sacramento, we’re short on classic delis, but we do love a good sandwich.

Roxie Deli & Grocery in East Sacramento, which has been making swoon-worthy sandwiches since 2005, recently expanded to a new location in the booming R Street corridor.

With a bright interior, plenty of outdoor seating and black-and-white photos on the walls, it represents the old and the new. All the original menu items are available, but now there are also gyros, house-made chips and beer on tap. Instead of boring canned sodas and an outdoor smoker, diners get a 21st-century soda machine and an indoor barbecue pit.

Even better, the superfriendly and accommodating staff have expanded to join the new spot. In a place where indecisive customers can feel paralyzed, the counter folks here are the soul of patience.

When I accidentally sent my whole order to the East Sac location through the GrubHub app, the R Street servers didn’t hesitate to make it all on the spot in double time, getting me out the door to still make a meeting.

I hadn’t tried much of Roxie’s food before, but did sample some excellent barbecue sliders from them at a park concert recently. One with pork and the other with beef, both were tender and smoky, and generously garnished with jalapeños.

Now that I’ve eaten gluttonously from the menu at the new location, I’m sorry I didn’t discover them sooner. Their forte is customizing sandwiches. There are endless sandwich choices here, from type of bread to condiment, vegetable toppings (hot or cold) and size— junior, regular and supreme—each one increasingly more gargantuan than the next. Focus and try not to get overwhelmed.

A regular Roxie House sandwich comes with sliced turkey, pastrami and cheddar, plus mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, jalapeños and any number of optional additions. The meat is tender and the toppings fresh, if possibly too generous. If you don’t like a lot of extra stuff on your sandwich, make sure to tell the staff to pare it down.

The Roxie Veggie is loaded with avocado, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, cheese and the lettuce-tomato-onion trio. We also got hummus instead of mayo. Sadly, it was the least interesting of the sandwiches we tried. The tomatoes were a bit too pallid and the filling lacked oomph. They’re much better with the meat offerings.

A better choice is the BBQ Beef sandwich, loaded with hot, juicy brisket (or the meat of the day), mayo, horseradish, barbecue sauce, two cheeses, onions and jalapeños. Get it hot and start with the junior, unless you’re a linebacker.

Breakfast is available all day, which is pretty awesome. The #1 Ham and Cheddar is an omelet with the meat mixed in, layered with melty cheese, tomato and onion (take note: they’re on everything). Served on a Dutch crunch roll, it’s far superior to any McSandwich.

Not up for the whole deli case in your sando? Go the custom route. A simple turkey and cheddar with lettuce and mayo can be very satisfying, if you’re feeling minimalist. Or make up some wacky combo. It’s a Dagwood paradise.

There are plenty of crunchy, salty chips, high- and low-end drinks (PBR, anyone?) and prepared sides. Their justly celebrated meatballs come in tomato sauce with Parmesan and pepperoncini, if you’re going breadless. Fruit salad and creamy potato salad make fine accoutrements as well.

Owners Chris and Amy Tannous bring many years of experience (in San Francisco and here) to their business. You might never be able to try everything on the menu, but plan to become a regular. Roxie is a hidden gem no more.