Deli loyalty in South City is no trivial matter. Which is better, Mom's
(4412 Jamieson) or LeGrand's
(4414 Donovan)? Debates are fierce. Feelings can get hurt.
The always-impartial Gut Check will now preside over a deli duel between these two venues based on a apples-to-apples comparison: The Mom's Special vs. The Legrand's Special.
Photo by Nicholas Phillips
($5.20)Background: Delores Vago
(or "mom") has retired, but her two sons, daughter-in-law and
granddaughter have kept the place humming along. Mom's has been doing
for 33 years.
crowned the joint Best
Delicatessen in 2005
, much was made about waiting in line. And on a
recent weekday, there was indeed a line stretching to the front door.
thanks to a staff that makes, wraps and rings up sandwiches at
lightning speed, that line moves super fast. Plus, the clientele was
familiar with each other, quite chatty and by all accounts deeply
supportive of the Cardinals.
The chip selection is standard with
some cool additions, such as Old Vienna Red Hot Triplets, Jay's Salt and
Sour, and Pelican Bay White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn. The
: turkey, ham, roast beef, munchee cheese, lettuce, tomato,
pickles, onions, homemade 1000-Island dressing. The Skinny
The Mom's Special is a saucy affair, as they pour on enough 1000-island
dressing to probably submerge 1,000 actual islands. But the bread -- from
Fazio's bakery -- is quite fresh. The veggies were what you'd expect.
The meat equals about 1/3 lb. It's a filling sandwich.
Photo by Nicholas Phillips
The LeGrand's Special (bread looks smooshed thanks to your reporter's indelicate handling).
: LeGrand's --
one of St. Louis' very last Tomboy grocery shops -- is larger
than Mom's. It's a bona fide
family-owned supermarket that's been making
sandwiches seriously since the late '90s, and now has 46 to choose from
(while Mom's has about 30). RFT
named it Best Delicatessen last year
The space is far less intimate than
mom's, and the in-line chats not as loud. At lunch hour, it might take
slightly longer to get your food here. The chip selection is huge (50+
options), with such oddball favorites as Uncle Ray's Dill Pickle and
Oke-Doke Onion Rings. The Sammy:
Roast beef, corned
beef, turkey, cheddar, lettuce, tomatoThe Skinny
a bit more meat on this one -- about 0.46 lb. And it seems to be of
higher quality: LeGrand's cooks their own roast beef and corned beef.
The ham comes from Miller's, steps away from the Lemp Brewery off
Antique Row, while the turkey is Boar's Head. The bread is from
Fazio's. Veggies are what you'd expect. FINAL DECISION
Mom's Deli has a longevity, character and familiarity that makes it special
to a lot of people. Plus, the Mom's Special is a great sandwich for the
But the LeGrand's Special has more and better meat, and a
tasteful amount of
sauce. The chip selection is wider. And for basically the same price.
LeGrand's is the winner.