Name: Vestal Bakery & Deli
Location: 176 Vestal Pkwy E, Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 748-8239
Price: Dirt cheap
The Vestal Bakery & Deli is an establishment I used to frequent on a fairly regular basis when I used to live nearby, but I hadn't been back for a number of years until today. I had never really liked the place that much, but as a graduate student on a tight budget, it was a good place to get dinner very cheaply if I didn't feel like going the Ramen route, and it happened to be across the street from the laundromat I patronized.
Lately, I've driven past the VB&D a few times and noticed a special on their sign: a foot-long sub for $2.99, which rotates weekly as to which sub is on special (turkey, ham, Italian, etc). For those mathematically challenged, that's $2.01 better than Subway's famous offer. Being the value hound that I am, I decided to stop by today for lunch. Would the low price be the only worthy quality I found?
The restaurant does not have much for atmosphere. It's dimly lit but appears to be pretty clean, and there are some booths available off to the left should you choose to eat there. Menu-wise, they have the usual cold-cut subs available in both small and large sizes, spiedie subs, and pizza, available whole or by the slice. I recall having the pizza here before and being largely unimpressed. I recall it being the sheet variety and a pale imitation of Nirchi's, although I thought I spotted some regular NY-style slices on today's visit in addition to the rectangular ones.
Upon arriving I went with this week's special: the foot-long Italian sub for $2.99. Asked if I wanted "everything" on it, I replied in the affirmative. A few minutes later, I was out the door and on my way home, ready to give this sub a shot.
As it turns out, I thought this sub was just OK. For starters, it's an Italian sub, and they put American cheese on it. Granted, I could've asked specifically for provolone I suppose, but when I said I wanted "everything," I assumed I would get the right kind of cheese. American on an Italian sub, yikes, I mean, who DOES that? So that kind of threw me off a bit. As for the rest of the sub, I didn't get the sense it was all that fresh. The meat was definitely not high quality stuff (perhaps my visit to Vincenzo's yesterday has spoiled me) and the lettuce appeared to be the bagged, shredded iceberg variety. If it wasn't, it tasted like it. For a place called the Vestal Bakery, I also expected better bread. It wasn't bad bread and it was definitely the freshest part of the sub, it was just nothing to get excited about. Overall, if you look up "average sub" in the dictionary, the picture associated is the one you see above.
But think about it. $2.99 for a foot-long sub. That is seriously cheap. It may not be the greatest sub in the world, but it's certainly a notch better than edible, and if you're a starving, overworked, underpaid grad student like I once was, a deal like this could just be your saving grace. For quality the Vestal Bakery & Deli may not be anywhere close to the area's best, but for value, you aren't going to do better.