Several weeks ago, my son and I drove past a sign that I told Marie about when we got home. The sign read “Best Reuben on Earth.” “That sounds like a challenge,” Marie said.
It took several more weeks before Marie and I had time to go back to Daved’s Deli to investigate the claim. It’s on the outskirts of Hixson, near an unincorporated neighborhood called Middle Valley. Daved and Wanda Senters moved here in the 1980s and set up their deli in what had once been a lawn mower repair shop. It is one of the most peculiar delis that I’ve seen in quite some time.
The Chattanooga area has plenty of delis, far, far more than I knew before we moved up here, but we haven’t seen any others that are full of antiques, “junque,” and bric-a-brac like this place. It’s like wandering onto somebody’s back patio, incredibly personal, warm, and inviting. The food’s very good as well.
I’ve never been a big fan of Reubens myself – I don’t really care for kraut – so I took Daved’s advice and tried his Delaware sub instead. This features ham and pastrami wrapped tightly with lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, and dressing. It took a few minutes more than I was expecting, but it was worth the wait. This was a delicious sandwich, packed full of high-quality ingredients. I would not mind going back for another one day at all.
This place may serve traditional-style deli sandwiches, but during our visit it was as far from the hectic stereotype of a crazy and busy deli as you could get. It was relaxed and peaceful, and the owner had time to talk with us about his place and also jaw with an old friend who was visiting. We could have stayed here all day talking.
I asked Marie whether this was, indeed, the best Reuben on Earth. She considered for a minute and said that she didn’t know. She hasn’t tried every Reuben on Earth yet, but it was still really, really good. She’s not as prone to hyperbole as I am.
7639 Middle Valley Rd
Hixson, TN 37343
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