River City Deli wants to comfort diners with a little nosh
River City Deli
If an Arkansan moved to Pittsburgh, he or she might get hungry for fried catfish.
If someone from Pittsburgh moved here, they'd pine for just one bite of "real" delicatessen food.
River City Deli opened for just that reason, offering much more than one little bite. Mother and son Susan Haid Tucker and Jason Haid are creating the whole experience of the comfort food, atmosphere and friendliness of the neighborhood delis they loved in their native Pittsburgh - and local diners who didn't know what they were missing are now getting the idea.
The deli at Stonewood Village has been packed for lunch since it opened just a few months ago.
"We have had East Coasters from New York, New Jersey, Philly and Baltimore," said Susan, who provides the giant welcomes and motherly hospitality. "They come in the door and almost cry!"
Jason, who created the menu based on the house-roasted meats and freshly baked breads he has loved passionately since childhood, takes up where his mom leaves off: "Right away we had people come in wearing their Steeler jerseys!" Both of them try to describe the elements that make up a "real" deli.
"It's a smell," said Susan. "It's corned beef and pastrami steaming in the kitchen," Jason added. "It's all the care and attention of simple, fresh ingredients that come with the smell."
It's all that and delicious, generous, classic and flavorful hot sandwiches of corned beef, pastrami, Hebrew National salami, rare roast beef and roasted turkey. Order your own combination or enjoy the house specialties like the Turkey Devonshire, an open-faced turkey sandwiched piled with bacon, smothered in a rich cheese sauce and baked until it bubbles. Or the Reuben, stuffed with hot corned beef to almost the size of a softball, with sauerkraut, swiss cheese and Russian dressing on a homemade roll grilled to crispy perfection.
Choose from potato latkes, creamy, piquant coleslaw or fresh potato salad on the side. Steaming, comforting matzo ball soup comes in cup or bowl portions. Jason's recipe for Italian Wedding Soup, prepared by lead chef Darra Ringlen, is a rich chicken broth with tiny circular pasta, little meatballs, fresh Parmesan and spinach.
For evening entreés, the slow-roasted, tender brisket platter or stuffed cabbage with beef under crushed tomato sauce are wonderful choices. Lighter? The Caprese salad marries sliced tomatos and fresh mozzarella with balsamic vinegar and basil.
New York-style cheesecake, Molten Lava Cake, pies and cookies are the dessert menu.
Lox, bagels and cream cheese? Of course.
"Real bagels!" Susan points out. If you don't know the difference, River City Deli would love to show you.
River City Deli
7320 Rogers Avenue, Suite 7
11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Saturday; 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday