Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jason’s Deli

You can certainly find larger salad bars with more selection that the one at Jason’s Deli, but it would be hard to find one with fresher ingredients. We have been going to their location in Fayetteville since we discovered it tucked under the awning at Nelson’s Crossing. Just look for Eyemart on the corner of Joyce and College. You’ll find Jason’s Deli nearby.

With summer temperatures hovering near 105 for weeks on end, it’s nice to have fresh, cold food for lunch. The salad bar at Jason’s deli has a variety of lettuces, plus cherry tomatoes, green and red peppers, red onions, garbanzo beans and fresh vegetables. It also has tuna salad, potato salad, pasta salad and other prepared salads. I like the roasted red pepper hummus with crackers and croutons. You’ll also find slivered almonds, sunflower seeds and other nuts for garnishing your salad. The dressings are very fresh and tasty. The offerings are not that unusual, but the quality is rare.
Jason’s Deli has a full menu with loaded potatoes, a variety of sandwiches, wraps, soups and pasta. The choices are so dizzying that you need a few minutes to consider the menu if you are a newbie. The sandwiches alone fall into multiple categories: subs, paninis, wrapinis, muffalettas and specialty sandwiches. Plus you can build your own. With all those choices, you would think a vegetarian could take his pick here. But it seems like most the vegetarian dishes are variations on a portabella mushroom theme. There’s the Grilled Portobello Wrapini, the Veggaletta Muffaletta and the Portobello Garden Pasta. All these come with asagio or provolone, so if you are a vegan make sure to ask them to hold it. There are no vegetarian, let alone vegan, spuds or specialty sandwiches. And there must be at least ten specialty sandwiches.
We decide to try a Veggaletta Muffaletta sandwich, along with a salad bar. My wife and I plan to split the sandwich and the salad bar. But both are so massive that we could easily split one or the other and not leave hungry. The half Veggaletta Muffaletta, pictured here, is two quarters of a large loaf of sesame bread. The menu describes it as comprising grilled portabella mushrooms, organic spinach, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, red onions, provolone and olive mix. For those who don’t care for olives, like myself, be forewarned that there are plenty of olives on this sandwich. The olives notwithstanding, the Muffaletta is tasty and unusual. I had never heard of a Muffaletta before seeing it on the menu here. The sesame bread is thick and flavorful, with the vegetables amounting to little more than a garnish for the bread. It almost seems like the opposite of a wrapini in its concept.

The price tag for a salad bar and a sandwich is about $17 with tax, which seems like a reasonably priced lunch. For those on a more serious budget, it would be easy enough to split either the salad bar or the sandwich between two people. The Muffaletta sandwiches come with chips and a pickle. The atmosphere is casual and subdued, but very hectic during the day when we visit for lunch. Although Jason’s Deli is a chain, it ranks very highly compared to its competitors nationwide. A reviewer in St. Louis recently mentioned a Consumer Reports study that said Jason’s Deli, “which also has restaurants in the St. Louis area, had the best sandwiches and subs among 11 chains. Jason's earned 83 points, with noteworthy food, staff and speed.” Read more:

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