You’ve heard the saying, “Good things come in small packages.” Deli Diner meets this expectation in two ways. First, it’s located in the small cities of Collins and Ellisville. Second, the Collins location, at which I was first introduced to Deli Diner delights, is actually a converted Sonic, and, yes, it’s pretty compact for a restaurant, but in a delightful way. This location brings back memories of teenage visits with friends to the Collins Sonic. Nostalgia aside, the food is outstanding and definitely worth a detour when you’re traveling on U.S. 49 or anywhere near any either of these locations.
Deli Diner has been named “Best Deli in Mississippi” and received praise in national publications. So you know walking past the former parking spots of the Sonic drive-in that you’re about to experience something special. It’s not until you’ve taken a bite of one of Deli Diner’s signature salads, sandwiches made with the restaurant’s homemade specialty breads, or any number of delicious paninis, burgers, Mexican dishes, and sides that you’ll realize you’ve uncovered a hidden jewel “just a little” off the beaten path, but definitely worth a detour.
When most talk about Deli Diner, the topic of their fresh, mouth-watering salads comes up. I admit, they’re really good, but I’m not most people. I’m a bona fide sandwich person, so more often than not, one of nearly 20 Deli Diner sandwiches on made-from-scratch bread is my meal of choice. It’s hard to describe just how delicious they are, but I’ll try.
First, Deli Diner’s homemade chicken salad ($8) filled with grapes, apples, and walnuts is a standout, so ordering it served up on homemade rosemary Parmesan, jalapeno, or other specialty bread of your liking is always a good decision.
Another outstanding selection is PBLT ($8), better known as homemade pimento cheese with bacon, lettuce, and tomato on a grilled homemade hoagie.
Other winning sandwiches are the chorizo chicken cheese panini (9.50), Cordon Bleu panini ($8.75), chorizo chicken cheese panini (9.50), pesto, artichoke, and chicken panini ($11), shrimp poboy ($11), Philly cheese steak sandwich ($10), club melt ($9.50), barbecue chicken sandwich ($8), grilled redfish sandwich ($10), and, my personal favorite, (when I’m eating healthy, this is), the turkey, bacon, and avocado sandwich ($8.75).
Okay, on to those famous salads. I agree with the consensus – they’re fresh, bountiful, and packed with delectable ingredients. In short, these are not salads after which you’ll walk away from the table hungry.
As mentioned, chicken salad ($8) is a house specialty, so ordering it on a bed of lettuce instead of a bun is a choice I can heartily recommend.
There’s also chicken fajita ($8.75), Mediterranean ($6), crunch Asian ($9.50), club ($8.75), Buffalo chicken ($8.75), cookout ($8.75), grilled salmon ($11.50), and cheese steak ($10), to name a few.
If you’re in the mood for something else, Deli Diner’s got you covered, especially if you’re a burger lover. There’s the blue buffalo ($8) topped with crumbled blue cheese, buffalo sauce, vegetables, and ranch dressing; Caesar ($8) with traditional salad toppings and the classic ($8), a good ol’ American burger topped with cheese, vegetables, and sauces.
Mexican favorites like burritos ($9-$11 depending on toppings), nachos ($9-$11), and taco salad ($9-$11) are also offered to add a spicy twist to your meal.
Accompanying every meal are sides like homemade pineapple slaw, chips and homemade salsa, beans and cheese, green salads, and potato salad.
For a meal that’s a little out of the way, but a long way from being ordinary, stop by the “old Sonic” in Collins or Ellisville locations. I guarantee you’ll agree with the publication that called it the “best diner in Mississippi.
Deli Diner is located at 704 S. Fir Avenue in Collins and 801 Hwy 11 South in Ellisville.