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Unique sandwich selection adds to the charm of Main Street Deli

May 05, 2003|by E.T. MOORE

Cream of Crab soup is a specialty at Main Street Deli, and one taste will tell you why. Creamy and buttery with a fresh crab taste, this mildly seasoned chowder contains lovely little pieces of crabmeat. Made fresh daily, the soup is a popular menu item at this Victorian-style breakfast-and-lunch restaurant in downtown Chambersburg, Pa.

Almost as good is the Italian wedding soup, a chicken-based soup with small round pasta, spinach and perfectly seasoned little meatballs. (I say "almost as good" only because, in my mind, meatballs cannot compete with crab.)

Both soups were presented in crocks set on a doily-lined, clear glass plate and are so filling that, along with a muffin, they could serve as a quick lunch on a busy workday.

But, excellent as the soups were, we had no intention of stopping after that course. Not with the selection of unusual sandwiches that Main Street Deli offers.

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My dining companion selected Bird to the Wise, a triple-decker sandwich of chicken salad, pecans and pineapple on raisin toast. It turned out to be a bit dry, but a request for a side of mayonnaise remedied that. The unusual ingredients combined for a wonderful swirl of flavors.

My Veggie Quesadilla - broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, green pepper, melted cheese and sunflower seeds in a spinach pita - was warm, filling and absolutely delectable. Served with sour cream and salsa, it would be just as good without them.

Both sandwiches were served with nondescript potato chips and a pickle.

Other sandwich selections unique to Main Street Deli are You are a Turkey, Luscious Clucker - chicken salad, alfalfa sprouts and bacon pieces on a white, spinach or whole wheat pita - and Chambersburg Express - turkey, ham, bacon, sprouts, tomatoes and cream cheese on your choice of breads. A small fee is charged for the specialty breads, which include three kinds of pita bread, three different tortillas, and croissants, French rolls, pretzel buns, Kaiser rolls and breadsticks.

The menu includes three vegetarian sandwiches, a daily quiche, and taco, spinach and chef salads.

We shared a Lettuce Less Salad, a chewy, satisfying mix of broccoli and cauliflower served with an excellent herbed house dressing on the side.

The atmosphere at Main Street Deli is relaxed and informal, the dining room clean and tastefully decorated. Lots of glass makes the large area seem even bigger. We admired the medium-green wainscoting, and noted that the vines over the mirrors matched the wallpaper border. My fellow diner reported that the theme carries over into the ladies' room, which she described as scrupulously clean.

The tables are covered with pink cloths and topped with glass. We sat at a window table and enjoyed a view of downtown Chambersburg.

Our hot drinks arrived in clear glass mugs. I selected an Earl Grey tea bag from the variety presented in a basket. The water wasn't hot enough to properly steep the tea, but I've seldom found a restaurant where it is. My dining companion had German Chocolate coffee, which she said tasted exactly like the cake.

Apple pie was advertised as the dessert of the day, but we opted for Main Street Deli's wonderful cakes - Hint of Strawberry and Carrot. The former was a moist, yellow cake with a thin layer of delicious strawberry paste between the layers and decorated with the same paste. The carrot cake was dense and rich, with plenty of nuts, raisins and cream cheese icing.

Main Street Deli also offers New York-style cheesecake and a fabulous chocolate chip cheesecake, which we had shared on a previous visit.

Our waitress was pleasant and attentive. She checked on us just often enough, and she split the salad into two large custard cups for us.

The pleasant and personable owner, Becky Ernst, is probably the reason the staff of servers appears to incur slight turnover, if any. We saw her out front talking to customers, helping the waitresses and taking phone calls.

Main Street Deli is also a full-service caterer, offering event planning, weddings, luncheons, breakfasts, parties and birthdays.

Breakfast selections include quiche. The children's menu has five entrees, including a cute little individual pizza. High chairs are available.

Our bill was $27, which was quite reasonable considering the quality and amount of food we had.




Main Street Deli and Catering


  • Food: 4 forks (out of 4)

  • Service: 4 forks (our of 4)

  • Atmosphere: 4 forks (out of 4)

  • Value: 4 forks (out of 4)


Hours: Main Street Deli is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Breakfast is served from 8 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday.

Prices: Prices range from $1.95 for Seasonal Fresh Fruit Salad to $5.55 for You are a Turkey sandwich.

Phone: 1-717-267-2501

Location: 177 South Main St., Chambersburg, Pa.; two blocks south of the square on U.S. 11 (Main Street).

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