If your mother was born in New York and spent the last 18 years saying she hasn’t had a good sandwich since she moved to North Carolina, you might want to take her to Morrisville Deli.
Hopes are raised when you enter the strip mall location off Davis Drive. It has a long deli counter, a handful of plain tables, and a serve-yourself soda machine at the far end. The display of Italian-bakery-style cookies amps up the anticipation, and maybe you’ve finally found the turkey club sandwich for which your mother has spent two decades searching.
Then she orders a corned beef sandwich—WHAT?
You can’t blame mom, though. No matter what you thought you were going to order when you walked in, it’s a good bet you’ll change your mind. The menu ranges from hot heroes like meatball, eggplant, or chicken parmigiana to the deli’s signature “bombers” (steak or chicken on toasted garlic hero rolls and finished off with barbecue flourishes, pizza toppings, or jalapenos and buffalo hot sauce), from a build-your-own sandwich menu to “Manhattan”-style creations like a classic reuben, the Bronx Bomber (pastrami and melted Swiss on rye), or the Velvet Guido (prosciutto, pepperoni, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, sweet onions, and black olives).
The signature gourmet sandwiches have fun names—Pilgrim, Bada-Bing, Skinny, Canniac, Greta Garbo—and yummy ingredients in unique combinations: Pesto mayo, sweet peppers and onions, marble rye, breaded eggplant, hummus, gorgonzola, horseradish mayo (and of course turkey, ham, chicken, roast beef, and all the usual suspects). There are also paninis, salads, half-pound classic and turkey burgers, and soups.
Maybe you prefer the all-day breakfast? Kick it off with a New York-style bagel (go for the ever-popular lox, tomato, red onion, and cream cheese or just a schmear of one of the Deli’s homemade vegetable, walnut raisin, or scallion flavored cream cheeses); then try a breakfast wrap, omelet, pancakes, or French toast.
The variety of interesting and quality sandwich builders (along with great bread) is what gives Morrisville Deli its self-proclaimed “New York flare.” Remember when you were a few years out of college and working in Chelsea for that trade magazine with the crazy publisher? And your favorite lunch was from the middle-eastern deli across the street where you always got the same thing—turkey and brie on a Kaiser roll with honey mustard and a wink from the counter guy? Well, guess what? You can get that here! (Well, minus the wink. Maybe you’re just getting old.)
Here are the reasons why your Bronx mom will like the Morrisville Deli: They use fresh mozzarella, Boar’s Head cold cuts (“lunch meat” for you Southerners), spicy deli mustard instead of French’s yellow, and New York-style bagels.
You’ll want another bite of your Suprimo (breaded eggplant, fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, leaf lettuce, and balsamic vinaigrette on multigrain bread) long after it’s gone, and Mom? She’ll probably say, “The corned beef was sliced way too thin, but it was good. I would be willing to go there again.”
You can take Mom out of the Bronx but you can’t take the Bronx out of Mom.
Morrisville Deli is located at 3524 Davis Drive.