262 Neil Ave. # 150
Columbus, OH 43215
For much of downtown Columbus, Dale’s Deli is probably not easy to spot, but in truth this spot is a hidden secret. Set up along Neil Avenue in Arena District, the little deli is mostly focused on the growing residential population and day workers in this part of town, with much of its foot traffic being people from surrounding blocks. There are quite a few sandwich shops in the city’s center and many of them have a following in the blocks around them. This one is worth a re-visit.
The restaurant is pretty simple; a counter where you order your food and either take it to walk or dine in the relatively small dining room. Some of the things to try:
- Chicken salad: Diced chicken, nuts and some veggies combine in this creamy confection, which is best with wheat bread. I like it for the peppery and savory taste. Still light as chicken salad goes, but hugely satisfying. Added bonus, the sandwich comes with a pickle to even it out with a little bit of saltiness.
- BBQ Chicken Quesadilla: One of the daily specials so it’s not typical to see this one on the menu. The quesadilla is grilled so it’s crispy and filled with chicken, a sweet barbecue sauce and ample cheddar cheese.
- French Onion Soup: Thick with cheese and a deep, oniony broth. While the number of onions themselves are lighter there’s no lack of flavor to be had here.
- Pickles: The deli makes its own pickles, and how do they stack up? Absolutely wonderful. Not too salty, which is annoyingly rare in local delis.
The deli seems to have a pretty dedicated following and a lot of the folks who show up here seem to know the staff here and Chef Travis Dale, who can often be found up front and socializing with the crowd. It manages the lunch rush very well and prices are good for what you get.
This deli is probably overlooked by much of the downtown crowd but that’s your gain, because the food here really is pretty good. The people are nice and it’s very convenient if you happen to be living in the area. If not, I would say it’s a refreshing different place to go and get food away from the crowds, which can be all too much in the popular places in a few blocks away in the Short North.
All in all, a hidden treasure for downtown Columbus.
- There are daily specials different from the standard menu, look out for these on the counter as you walk in.
- There’s also a small convenience stand to take some other prepackaged snacks to go.
- Sandwiches are best. Get one to go.