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Delis, Bakeries, and More Make Dining Out a True 'Experience'

My first experience with New York-style cheesecake and a Reuben sandwich was at Jackson’s Olde Tyme Deli. Irv and Judy Feldman served up thousands of unique sandwiches, the best potato salad on the planet, flaky cheese blintzes, gingerbread cookies at Christmas, and thick, heavy slices of cheesecake year-round at the iconic restaurant in Jackson’s Highland Village. Almost every time I pass by or shop at Highland Village, I mourn the end of food with a New York twist in Mississippi. The book America’s Great Delis, which chronicles the country’s top delis, mentions Jackson’s famous deli, which closed nearly 20 years ago.

Lucky for us, another restaurant opened in 1998 right across Interstate 55 that comes very close to quelling my Olde Tyme Deli cravings. Broad Street Baking Company and Café offers a delightful selection of gourmet sandwiches served on homemade bread, among many other dishes. Being able to stop by Banner Hall and enjoy my favorite smoked chicken BLT topped with roasted garlic mayonnaise between two slices of sourdough bread almost makes me forget about the former deli from across the street.

First, let me make it clear that Broad Street is not a deli. It’s really much, much more. Broad Street is owned by Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal, whose grandfather operated a bakery in New Jersey that was famous for its homemade breads. Fast forward a generation or two and the art of bread-making is still going strong.

More often than not, diners request one of the restaurant’s signature sandwiches made with my favorite flavor or choose homemade focaccia, New York rye, farmhouse white, multi-grain or Sugar Busters whole wheat, or New Orleans po-boy bread with which to encase their sandwich ingredients. Once the meal is over, a common practice is to pick up a fresh-baked loaf or two to take home. It goes without saying that if you love the aroma of bread baking, you’re in luck when you enter Broad Street’s doors.

Between sandwiches, paninis, poboys, and wraps, the menu at Broad Street offers 18 unique and delicious offerings. Besides my favorite, the sandwich menu includes jerk pork loin, blackened chicken, portobello vegetarian, basil pesto chicken salad, club, black forest ham, and honey-smoked turkey. Each one comes with one’s choice of gourmet bread and a side item.

When I’m in the mood for a panini, a classic Reuben reminiscent of Olde Tyme Deli is the perfect choice. Filled with hot pastrami topped with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and spicy Russian dressing on rye bread, it doesn’t disappoint.

Other Paninis are southwestern beef, honey-smoked turkey and brie, tomato and basil grilled cheese and an “oldie but goodie,” Croque Monsieur. This massive mound of Black Forest ham topped with Swiss cheese, béchamel sauce that’s grilled, caramelized, and rolled into a delicious sourdough covering is another walk down memory lane.

Poboys filled with fried or grilled shrimp, catfish, or an authentic New Orleans-style grill-pressed Sicilian are all good choices.

Since the owners count Sal and Mookie’s Pizza in their restaurant repertoire, it’s no surprise Broad Street’s offerings are above-average. Generous toppings on homemade foccaccia bread including a choice of chicken and caramelized onions, smoked or blackened chicken, Italian sausage, veggie supreme, or a favorite known as “M&M.” It’s a delightful combination of tomato sauce, Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms, and mozzarella.

On the lighter side of the menu, Broad Street has a variety of meat-based and vegetable salads that are a meal unto themselves. These include a traditional chopped, Cobb, spinach, fried greens, shrimp, and even one named for grandfather Sol. It’s a bountiful dish of smoked chicken, spinach, five spicy nuts, pears, grapes, and blue cheese topped with a tangy raspberry vinaigrette.

If you’re looking for homemade pasta, you’ve come to the right place. The hardest part is choosing from among a Creole dish filled with shrimp, ravioli, alfredo with a choice of chicken or shrimp, a Mediterranean dish, and my favorite, chicken parmesan. It’s a delicious dish filled with fried chicken breasts topped with mozzarella and baked to a crusty goodness, then served over campanelle Alfredo. A soup and quiche of the day are prepared fresh daily, along with gumbo filled with smoked chicken, Andouille sausage and rice.

Broad Street also offers what it calls “oven dishes.” Enchiladas, herb-roasted chicken, lasagna, and the piece de resistance, chicken pot pie, are a few of the dishes that emerge from the oven. The latter is a creamy veloute of chicken, carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, and peas topped with a flaky biscuit dough and baked to a golden brown crispness. Each dish comes with a side item and slice of homemade bread.

Broad Street’s portions are large and prices are moderate. Sandwich, panini, and poboys offerings range from $9.95 to $12.95 and include a side item. Pasta dishes are in the $12 range, while the “oven” dishes vary from $10.50 to $13.50.

Broad Streets opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Hours extend to 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. The restaurant is located at 4465 I-55 N., Exit 100 at Northside Drive.

For those times when I'm not near Jackson, I concocted a recipe to make a reuben sandwich at home. It's delicious and even better, it reminds me of the good ol' days at Olde Tyme Deli.

My Favorite Reuben Sandwich

2 tablespoons butter

8 slices rye bread

8 slices deli sliced corned beef

8 slices Swiss cheese

1 cup sauerkraut, drained (see note below)

1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing

Preheat a large skillet or griddle on medium heat. Lightly butter one side of bread slices. Spread non-buttered sides with Thousand Island dressing. On 4 bread slices, layer 1 slice Swiss cheese, 2 slices corned beef, 1/4 cup sauerkraut, and second slice of Swiss cheese. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered sides out.

Grill sandwiches until both sides are golden brown, about 15 minutes per side. Serve hot.

Note: if you don't like sauerkraut, saute a cup of shredded purple cabbage in 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar and a sprinkle of caraway seeds until cabbage is wilted.

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