Any city of reasonable size has sandwich shops beloved for local color and lunchtime reliability – here in Albuquerque that list includes spots like Baggin’s, Kathy’s Carryout and Yeller Sub. However, if you do not work or live in the wedge of neighborhoods between the University of New Mexico and Downtown, you might not even know about another treasured spot: DG’s Deli.
When founded more than a decade ago, DG’s filled a need not realized nearby at spots like Frontier and Saggio’s. Beverly Sadlowski brought in a local joint with good sandwiches, friendly faces and reasonable prices – just what the neighborhood wanted.
The dining space is a large “U” around the center prep area – nothing hidden, nothing prepared in the back before delivery to your plate. Everyone smiles with the pent-up energy that comes from being productively busy. Adding to that sense of camaraderie, you can see Sadlowski most days in among her staff working the sandwich line during the lunch rush. She floats from task to task with admirable efficiency, no doubt honed by her years of experience with how to make a tasty sandwich – and fast.
LOCATION: 1418 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. NE (east of I-25), 247-3354, dgsdeli.com
HOURS: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays; closed Sundays
Most options on the menu are tried-and-true concoctions without fanfare or lavish add-ons, and that’s how folks like it. Starting with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, they include roast beef, turkey and Swiss, grilled ham or three dozen other varieties on the huge menu.
With rare exceptions, sandwiches come on hoagies and are cut to one of four sizes: 6 inches, 8 inches (standard), 9 inches or 10 inches (jumbo). The seemingly small differentiation is a welcome touch – you can get just enough food for your appetite without the excess of a footlong from some chains. Prices are in the $7-$9 range, depending on size and extras.
To simplify ordering, choose from the most popular items, in bold on the menu and worth a try. The Green Chile Philly ($8.50), a longtime local favorite, tops sliced steak with peppers, onions, chile and white cheese. It’s a miracle that nothing leaks out, but that’s a compliment to the bread – perfectly chewy without too much fluffy bulk.
The Italian Grinder ($8.50) piles three spicy cured meats with Italian dressing and minimal veggie condiments to get in the way. My favorite is the #30 on the cold sandwich list: Roast Beef, Chicken & Avocado. It might sound simple but combining lean chicken with savory beef and the smear of avocado worked better than expected. Add salt and pepper and jalapeños for added punch. Order up a side of potato salad ($1.09) to complete the deli experience, or a homemade cookie or brownie (the peppermint pattie stuffed brownies were too good to resist on my last visit).
Some folks have eaten from DG’s without ever having set foot on the premises – carryouts are a huge part of the business, and it delivers to the area with a minimum order. Lunches and meetings are catered every day from spots like UNM Hospital to the law firms Downtown. Take this word of advice: you’ll be in for a bit of a lag if you insist on having lunch right at noon. Swing by before 11:30 or after 1 p.m. – or call in your order 20 minutes ahead – to keep the pace of your day on track.