Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Full Belly Deli

Name: Full Belly Deli
Location: 1550 Vestal Parkway East, Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 754-3354
Cuisine: Sandwiches/Subs
Attire: Casual
Price: Less than $20 for two

Today, I stopped by the Full Belly Deli for lunch. It was my first time there and, overall, it was a fairly positive experience.

The place is located out the far side of the Vestal Parkway about halfway between Town Square Mall and Four Corners, in the same small shopping plaza as the Asian fusion restaurant Lemongrass, which I'll certainly be writing about at some point or another. The location is not great, but that's beside the point. It's laid out on the inside like any normal sandwich shop, much like a Subway or Quizno's. The staff was very friendly and talkative; the cashier gave me an awesome coffee recommendation as well that I'll mention in a minute.

The menu is really basic, with all the standard sandwich and sub options...turkey, ham, roast beef, Italian, reuben, meatball, etc., all made-to-order. I ordered an Italian Sub ($6) with all the usual fixings--lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, sub sauce, black olives, and provolone cheese. The meat they use for the sandwiches is the gold standard of quality deli meat, Boar's Head. In this case, ham, capicola, and pepperoni were the meats of choice. The bread was an 8" sub roll that I presume is their homemade bread. Here we go...

There it is. Truly, an ordinary-looking Italian sub, but a very fine tasting sandwich. The fresh bread was delicious and gives me reason again to come back at some point. All the veggies and meats tasted very fresh. I had absolutely no problem with the taste of the sandwich and I would probably get it again. The problem I have is with the name of the place. Full Belly Deli. When I think of a place called the Full Belly Deli, I think of heaping portions. I want a 14" sub like I'd get at Wegman's. I want the thing stuffed to the gills. I want leftovers. Granted, the quality of what you're getting here is pretty high, but this thing had the skimpiest portion of meat I've ever had in a sub. Look at the picture. You can barely see any meat there at all. I'd like a little ham with my lettuce. Please. Full Belly Deli? That's false advertising in the name alone. But I don't want to make it seem like this was not a good sandwich, because I did enjoy it. I just wished I was eating it in a place not called the Full Belly Deli the whole time.

I elected to go with a cup of coffee ($1.50) to drink and the cashier pointed me toward the Ethiopian Harrar, a dark roast. I'm not really a coffee connoisseur or anything but this was definitely the best cup of coffee I've had in a while. The coffee was easily the best thing about the meal and I'd definitely stop there for coffee alone on a regular basis if not for the fact that it's so far out of the way.

All in all, I'd have to say I recommend the Full Belly Deli. The food was really fresh and tasted good, and the coffee was a definite home run. The staff was friendly which definitely goes a long way. There are definitely some changes I would make. For starters, the name of the place is a flat-out lie. So ditch the name or up the portions. Secondly, the menu was a little too basic in my opinion. A small sandwich shop like this should offer some "signature" specialty items that give you a real reason to go there instead of Subway or Wegman's, especially since it's a little bit off the beaten path. With these basic improvements Full Belly Deli would flourish into an excellent place to grab lunch.

Grade: B

Full Belly Deli on Urbanspoon

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