An Eater's Guide to Dallas' Three Best Delis

photo by foodbitch

There are three delis in Dallas. They are: Cindi's New York Delicatessen, Deli News and Gio's Café and New York Delicatessen. If you just thought inside your head, "But what about Jason's Deli?" you should come here so I can slap you. Stay quiet and learn something.

A note to New Yorkers and the like: I am in no way asserting that we have New York deli in Dallas. What we have is food that appears to look and taste similar to that from the New York and surrounding areas, but please do not shit all over me for what you read below. Put a less-than-perfect bagel made with Dallas water in your mouth and cool out.

Each of these three delis are reasonably similar, with a few exceptions. Cindi's is Vietnamese-owned, Deli News has a serious Godfather complex, and perhaps most impressive of all, Gio's gets their meat straight from Carnegie.

So rather than talk about them individually, I've jotted down a few things to know about doing deli in Dallas.

Delis are basically diners with more fish and fewer burgers.
The menu is large and encompasses everything from early bird to late night (as in, 9 p.m.). You want an omelet and some pie? Done. Tuna stuffed inside an avocado? No problemo. A platter of smoked fish (called "appetizing," a noun, in the northeast), some stuffed cabbage and a babka? It's all here. Lox, eggs and onions? That's actually one menu item.

Old, crotchety career waitresses are standard.
If your waitress is under 45, her dad probably owns the place. If your waitress is an Asian dude, you're probably at Cindi's. If your waitress is nice, patient and polite, you're somewhere else entirely. And this is fine. A deli is supposed to be a little slice of New York City, where they don't have the time or desire to wait while you choose between the #6 on rye or the double decker Rueben. Get your shit together.

Old folks in track suits.
The average age inside a Deli at any given time is 67.8. I made that up, but I think you'll find it a stat that's hard to argue with. Nonetheless, old folks are adorable, and they order fattening food like it's going out of style. So much to admire.

The coffee sucks, so deal with it.
You will want to order coffee with your brunch at a deli. Fight the urge, unless it's absolutely necessary, as the gray stuff you receive in your advertisement-covered mug will likely give dishwater a run for its money. There aren't enough tiny half 'n half containers in the world to repair that cup of swill.

No, not like that at all.
Egg cream and phosphate.
No, they're not paint colors. But they are beverages available inside a deli. A phosphate combines bubbly club soda with phosphoric acid and flavors like chocolate, cherry or vanilla. Ask your grandpa. An egg cream is made from chocolate syrup, soda water and milk. Sounds disgusting, right? It's not. Give it a try. It sure as hell beats that shitty coffee.

photo by foodbitch
These are actually from New Jersey
Pickled things.
You can bet that at a deli, the pickles are made in-house. Half-sour, full-sour, kosher, etc. And they often come out before you order like an amuse bouche. Before pickling everything was super trendy, delis were pickling tomatoes, meat, beets and more.

Meat, glorious meat.
If you are a vegetarian, you should probably stick to the breakfast item pages, or stay far, far away. Delis are monuments to meat. Hard salami, pastrami, corned beef, chopped liver, kosher salami, turkey, smoked turkey, brisket, roast beef and the hits just keep on coming.

Numbered sandwiches.
And the #1 is always a good choice. Real deli sandwiches generally come stacked high with a combination of two or more meats, Russian dressing and coleslaw. Sometimes there's a Swiss cheese component, and the default bread is good rye. Stick with what works.

photo by foodbitch
It's true: I'm a liver lover.
Fun fact: chopped liver cures hangovers.
It's not the only thing that supplies that rich combo of enough iron and protein to kill the Pukey Blues, but holy shit it tastes amazing smeared on a bagel chip with a string of red onion. Order the chopped liver appetizer platter for the table and you'll be back in business before dessert.

Bread is a side dish.
Many dishes come with a choice of bread. That bread can be one of the following: bagel, bagel chips, toasted bagel, toasted toast (rye, marble rye, pumpernickel, wheat or sourdough), pancakes, English muffin or biscuit. Choose wisely.

Latkes can also be considered bread.
Deli News has a dish called "My bubbe loves me." I think they call it a sandwich. But what it is, is four latkes for bread on top and beneath a thick layer of brisket, all covered with gravy. It's a growing Jewish boy's wet dream.

Borscht, knishes and kreplach.
You don't speak Yiddish? That's okay, I'm here to help. Borscht is a soup made from beets or tomatoes, served cold or hot, respectively. Knishes are doughy breads filled with ingredients like meat or potato. And kreplach are dumplings also filled with ingredients like meat or potato, but they go in your chicken soup.

The "lite" plate.
Yeah, don't order that. Even though the words have three out of four letters in common, you do not go to a deli to diet. End of story.

So many desserts.
But I don't think I've ever seen anyone order one. There's rarely even room for Jell-O after an appetizer platter, a triple-decker deli sandwich, four pickles and three cans of Dr. Brown's soda. But the dessert menu at a deli is always stacked with everything from the iconic black and white cookie to pastries, pies and cakes.

Jews. So very many Jews.
Obviously. And we all know each other.

foodbitch can be found at any one of these three fine establishments enjoying a #1 on rye. Follow her or City of Ate on Twitter.

Location Info



Cindi's NY Delicatessen Restaurant & Bakery

11111 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Gio's Cafe and New York Deli

12817 Preston Road, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help

@sbsz The deli that comes closest to a NY deli is DELI NEWS.  Cindy is a not so close second and Geo is barely in the running.  And yes Jason's deli is a fine lunch counter, but real deli's don't have salad bars.Take this from a New Yorker, as in "you can take the girl out of brooklyn, but you can't take Brooklyn outta the girl".


Where is that sandwich in the picture from? What's it called, I want it. NOW!


Doesn't Cindi's serve Chock full o’Nuts Coffee? LOVE THAT SHIT.


Have you guys not tried Mr. G's in Plano?!


Oy veh, that "fiyyst pichta" is a mountain of food! 


Kudos for correcting the second grade spelling mistake in the headline.  Now if you can correct "a Asian dude" to "an Asian dude" we may let you start reading at a fourth grade level!


Not here long enough to remember the oft-spoken-of Gilbert's, but we did like the old Bagelstein's in Richardson. It's been weird watching Deli News 2 turn into Ed's NY Deli, then Roasters 'n' Toasters, and now Gio's. Wish we could get one or two more here!



*stomach rumbles*


I love delis.


Having said that, there are certainly things there that strain my ability to comprehend peoples odd and varied appetites, such as: Head cheese.




@ksd0005 Unfortunately for you, that particular sandwich is from Lox, Stock and Deli in New Jersey. It was delicious.


 @Justin82 Not really a deli, more of a sandwich shop, IMO. But no, I haven't been.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

[Mrs. Katz dreams of smoked sable and whitefish salad and starts to weep]


 @foodbiatch  This really gets my goat, and not my goat meat sandwich. DAMN it I want that witch! 


 @cynicaloldbastard I would love to, but I live closer to a couple CMs than either Gio's or Deli News. Wrong side of the map, it would seem...

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