2017-11-08 / Restaurant of the Week

Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Deli


In this day and age, so few things stand the test of time. Well, there’s living proof right on 23rd Avenue in Astoria at Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Deli. For 77 years, this family-owned deli has been offering pretty much one thing and one thing only; the best hero sandwich in NYC, according to many of the regulars. Though Sal has passed away, Mom Kris, Dad Charlie, and sons Nick and John Gordon continue the time- honored tradition of building the best sandwiches that fuel New Yorkers.

Before I tell you what this landmark deli has to offer, I would like to tell you what they don’t have. At Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Deli, you won’t find wraps, panini, pizza, tacos, gyros, burgers, sushi, smoothies, tofu, yogurt, fruit, nuts, nuggets, berries, sprouts, quiche, quesadillas, chow mein, or souvlaki. What you will find is the beauty and mastery of a well-constructed hero sandwich using the highest quality meats, cheeses, toppings and freshly baked bread, made by the Bakery Boys from Corona (Alex and Nick). Add to that the passion that comes from the hardworking Gordon family, and you have a recipe for success.

Perhaps the most famous sandwiches here are “The Bomb” and “The Italian.” All sandwiches are constructed on freshly baked bread from the Bakery Boys. The Bomb combines layer upon layer of thinly sliced ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami, mortadella, pepperoni, mild provolone cheese, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, hot and sweet roasted peppers and your choice of mayo, mustard, olive oil and vinegar or all of them, if you like. The result is nearly a 2-pound masterpiece of sandwich craft. You’ll need both hands, lots of napkins and perhaps a little help from your friends ($9.50). Just try to finish this yourself, or call 2 of your best friends for help. “The Italian” combines prosciutto, Genoa salami, soppressata, pepperoni, sharp provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers and is best with olive oil and vinegar sprinkled on top. Wash it all down with a huge array of soft drinks including sodas, teas, Manhattan Special espresso coffee soda, Starbucks coffee drinks, sparkling waters and juices of all kinds.

It’s always a pleasure to see Nick, who is friendly and cheerful. He personally made my sandwich with rare roast beef, as I had requested. Next, a smattering of peppers, a light shmear of horseradish mayo, lettuce and tomato, and I was in hero heaven. Try some of their super-fresh salads, made on the premises, that include cole slaw, potato salad, marinated mushrooms and crunchy pickles. Make a simple sandwich of their fabulous chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad and shrimp salad that even the kids will love. Take containers home and make sandwiches for school all week long. By the way, their rice pudding is excellent. And don’t forget to take some home with you.

Another secret to their success is the quality and freshness of the meats and cheeses. An 8-foot refrigerator displays dozens of hams, salamis, turkey, chicken, bologna, pastrami and more. With unusual varieties such as jerk chicken, honey turkey, honey ham, Mortadella, Virginia ham, and Genoa salami and even low-salt varieties, you’ll never have to eat the same thing twice. There’s corned beef too, and prosciutto, sweet or hot capicola, bologna, and more. Who can resist a shrimp salad sandwich piled high on freshly baked bread? Next come the cheeses such as provolone, both mild and sharp, Swiss cheese, Alpine lace, and American cheese. Cold cuts and salads are also sold by the pound to take home. Order a huge, 6-foot sandwich to eat as you watch the election results or sports. These party-sized sandwiches can be ordered in advance to delight your hungry crew for all occasions.

Take a break from work at lunchtime, or stop in on your way to Astoria Park for a picnic lunch and enjoy perhaps the best sandwich you’ll ever have. Sal, Kris and Charlie’s is easy to find…just look for the line out the door at lunchtime composed of hardworking staff of the NYPD, Con Edison, the FDNY and local citizens who pay homage to the Sandwich Kings of Astoria. Sal, Kris and Charlie’s Deli is open seven days a week from 5am to 8pm and until 3pm on Sundays.

33-12 23rd Avenue, Astoria
(Between 33rd and 35th Streets)

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