Oh, what I wouldn’t do for a sandwich. A good sandwich. The kind that leaves little bits a deliciousness in my beard where I will save it for a later time in the day. I’ve had a few such sandwiches in my life. The affairs may have been brief and exciting but the memories stick with me.
On Cherry Street in Grand Rapid’s Eastown is a deli with a faded green trellis and a bright red door. Against the grey winter backdrop it is a welcoming sight. On the inside is a small seating area with chalkboards littering the walls. Written on the boards are names of sandwiches: “Gerald Ford,” Hawthorned,” “Orchard,” and “Frank Lloyd Wright.” Whether or not these names have any correlation to the sandwiches themselves I do not know. And it really doesn’t matter because the sandwich I have in my hands, the “Gerald Ford” speaks for itself. It’s what Quizno’s wants in a sandwich but can’t seem to deliver: flavorful meat with a kick-in-the-mouth sort of sauce, piled in beautifully browned, and crosshatched, toasted bread. I’m not just saying that to be nice either. The bread really was perfectly toasted. Mr. Ford did have a little too much spice for me but that’s my opinion.
To top it off, the Cherry Deli has my favorite brand of raspberry iced tea, Xing Tea. This is the same tea I talked about in an earlier rambling regarding my BBQ experience in Denver. This Grand Rapids experience provided some of the same feelings as that BBQ shack did at the foot of the Rockies. It’s great to find out that there are small, out of the way restaurants which provide quality eats. No glitz and glamour required. I think its bathroom had a bolt lock. Now this is not to say that the Cherry Deli is a dive. Quite the opposite actually. It has a charm that only a small burg can give you. It has a green trellis and a red door, remember? And did I mention there is garland with red bows on that trellis? It’s inviting you in.
But with local art on the wall, friendly staff, and criss-cross grill marks on my sandwich it doesn’t really matter much how a restaurant looks. Fortunately, this deli does not have to worry about lack of charm.
834 Cherry Street SE, Grand Rapids