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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Columbia Eats: Andy's Deli

"Hello my friend!" exclaims the owner of Andy's Deli, Andy himself. I've only eaten at Andy's Deli a handful of times in the past several years, but - like every other person who walks into the restaurant - you'll get the same genuine welcome as if you've been there since the beginning. This family run business has been treating customers for decades with the same great deli sandwiches the owner started making all those years ago. Today, it's the younger generation running the sandwich line while Andy takes his place at the register.

The man himself.

Unlike other deli's in town, the first thing that stands out the moment you walk into the restaurant is the sense of local pride inside. Those in Columbia know it can be a rarity to find something so distinctly "Columbia" in the restaurants around town, but not so here. Andy's walls are filled to the brim with USC memories, including pictures of the owner himself posing with past USC sporting teams, cheer leading squads, friends, and family.

While you can find all the old deli stand-by's here, Andy's Deli shines in the tried-and-true specials. No matter what you order, you're sure to get a soft and chewy hoagie mixed-and-matched in every way you could think of, from the french dip and ruben to more eclectic-named subs such as the R2-D2 or Astronaut. Best of all is the deli's signature sandwich, Andy's Special, which comes stacked with roasted ham and turkey, piled with bacon bits, and topped with melted provolone cheese while served with a generous pile of their special sauce on the side. Rich, creamy, and slightly tangy, the special sauce provides the perfect compliment to both chips and sandwiches alike.

Served the same way each and every time without fail.

As if the sandwich wasn't satisfying enough, nothing washes down an Andy's Special better then a cold can of Dr. Brown black cherry soda - the best you'll ever have hands down - poured onto their shaved ice. Who takes the time to make shaved ice these days? Only at Andy's. There's simply no better way to have it in my opinion.

You can have your Coke. I'll take my black cherry soda any
day of the week.

For all the good, there is a drawback: the prices are a bit on the hefty side - unfortunately, deli sandwiches aren't recession proof. For any special with a soda, it'll set you back over $8. Fortunately, a large and varied menu can still keep you around $6 if you're on a shoestring budget and features some interesting picks that are sure to satisfy any taste out there, including a host of inexpensive salads for the student on the go.

Andy's Deli, for me, will always remain an important place in my past, present, and future. It was the first place I ate at in Columbia, and for a young kid so far away from home, it meant a lot to feel so welcomed the moment I stepped in and met Andy. You may not go there often for the food, but you will come back to say hi and perhaps have a can of cherry soda with the man behind the counter.

Andy's Deli on Urbanspoon

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