Whoever proclaimed breakfast to be the most important meal of the day obviously never had lunch at Drake’s Deli. The huge range of sandwiches (both hot and cold!), soups, salads, and dessert will make this local gem your new lunchtime (or anytime) haunt.
Tammy Drake and her family (two daughters, one son-in-law, and a grandson) opened Drake’s Deli in January of 2015 and quickly established the deli as one of downtown’s go-to restaurants for a soup, salad or sandwich. With a focus on fresh ingredients and carefully selected meats and cheeses the crew at Drake’s aims to provide an amazing array of quick, delicious options to their busy clientele.
When you step through the door, the first thing you’ll notice about Drake’s is that it’s small. It’s really small. That’s because this deli serves the majority of folks on-the-go, but don’t worry, seated service isn’t out of the question – there’s a cozy courtyard for dining alfresco directly outside the shop overlooking San Marco Avenue.
Including breakfast (they open at 7am on weekdays), the menu at Drake’s offers over 30 different varieties of sandwiches, both hot and cold. But you don’t have to order from their menu. Fancy a simple ham and cheese on rye? Roast beef and mayo on white? They’ll make whatever you want.
On my visit, I opted to try a little bit of everything– starting with breakfast. The Steak and Egg Sandwich ($8.50) has shaved ribeye, onions, green peppers, cheese all served on a fresh baguette and topped with a tasty datil sauce.
Next, The Reuben ($9.50). With your choice of pastrami or corned beef, it’s served with sauerkraut and smothered with Swiss cheese and Drake’s own housemade Thousand Island dressing.They pile all of that onto bakery-fresh marble rye bread.
The Italian Stallion ($8.50) is a mix of ham, pepperoni, salami, and hot capicola, topped with provolone. It’s then served on a fresh baguette with lettuce, tomato, onion, cherry peppers, and a flavorful housemade Italian dressing.
You can top off your lunch with one of Drake’s salads (all are $8.50) or some of their homemade soup. The soups vary and are $7 for a bowl and $3.50 for a cup.
If, by some miracle, you have room for dessert, Tammy Drake makes those herself – Drake’s Cakes – and prices vary. I tried the The Hummingbird Cake and it was every bit moist and delectable.
Whatever you order, the serving sizes are plentiful. When you’re done, don’t feel bad if you find yourself needing a to-go box. You’re likely not alone.
Drake’s Deli is located at 138 San Marco Avenue. Visit them online at www.drakesdeli.com.
Images by Steve Parr