I've always been a big fan of locally owned businesses, but I have recently become infatuated with a corporate chain. It's a not so little red brick structure next to Earth Fare on Apalachee Parkway. Opening in the beginning of this year, Jason's Deli has become a hot spot for an on-the-go deli experience.
Oh, how I wish that Jason lived in Tallahassee so that I could spin a yarn about him personally checking up on the customers after hand-kneading the floury rye dough in the back. I want to hear Mama Jason's voice belting out the ready orders from a cramped kitchen hidden behind chipped brick. It may have been true at one time, but Jason's Deli has come a long way from its conception back in 1976.
The reality of it is that Jason's Deli is a chain that spans across most of the country from Los Angeles all the way to Washington DC. In fact, much to its credit, Parents Magazine included it in its Top Ten List of Best Restaurants in America. Not too shabby.
As for my experience, the Apalachee Parkway location has shown me many different speeds of service. No matter how short or long my wait was, the quality of food remained constantly delicious. It made the wait in line worth it, whether I was in the drive thru or in the building. They've also added various ordering avenues like phoning in orders or punching in a ticket on their website. Their online ordering system may be a little awkward but when you're in a group of undecided friends, it beats holding up a line.
I've had a decent sampling of their menu and have found myself returning to two of my favorites: the California Club and the "Reuben THE Great". If I'm starving, the mountain of delicious corned beef that is their Reuben is what grabs my attention. The sauerkraut that's artfully plopped atop the mound has opened up my palate to how sour the cabbage can be and still have me begging for more. But alas, my stomach has only a finite amount of space.
The California Club is the sandwich that I get when asked if I'm hungry and my response is "I could eat." I'm a sucker for avocados or any of its derivatives. The guacamole on the California Club synergizes deliciously with the saltiness of the bacon and flakiness of the warm croissants. If it weren't for the ridiculous size of the Reuben, I'd say that the California Club has the number 1 spot for me.
Jason's Deli has a lot of the usual deli favorites and aims to meld down home goodness with on-the- go quickness of fast food places. If you're in the mood for the deli classics such as a tuna melt or a Rueben, Jason's Deli is a great place to try in Tallahassee.
Remember, if you dine in, you're eligible for complimentary soft serve ice cream and some aspects of the salad bar. That means, if you play your cards right, you have access to make-it-yourself coke or root beer floats.