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Hidden Treasures – column

The historic Soulard neighborhood is home to many treasures, most of which are considered “hot spots” for those who are 21 and over. Recently, we found a treasure that persons of any age can enjoy — lucky you!

The place? Blues City Deli.

First opening its doors in 2004, this delicious deli has become well known around Soulard. The sandwich shop is nuzzled in a residential area without any other businesses around. And just because the store is disguised by houses does not mean you will have to search very hard to find it. The line of excited and hungry customers, which often times is so long it goes out the door and down the block, will be the telltale sign that you are in the right spot.

The doors open at 11 a.m., but oftentimes the line will start around 10:30 a.m.

While waiting in line, let your eyes wander. The walls are full of photographs and artifacts of local and big name musicians. See if you can find Charley Patton, Eric Clapton or BB King! Blues City was sure to incorporate another important aspect of St. Louis culture: Blues hockey. Photos of players and games are dispersed throughout the restaurant, with my favorite artifact in the bathroom, of all places. This photo is of the first Blues hockey game played in St. Louis against the Minnesota North Stars (yeah Texas, NORTH Stars).

The arrangement of chairs inside encourages people to sit down next to strangers and potentially walk away with a new group of friends. Vinnie, the owner, has tried hard to make BCD a community, from seating to his “thank ya, baby” spoken to each customer after placing an order.

If you happen to drop by Blues City Deli on a Thursday or Saturday night, you will have the pleasure of listening to local bands serenade you while you wait in line and dine on delicious deli sandwiches. Musicians normally start at 6 p.m. on Thursdays and 1 p.m. on Saturdays. If you are looking for a quieter place to relax and enjoy the company of a friend, grab a seat outside. The sleepy neighborhood around Blues City Deli will be a great backdrop for a night of good conversation and quality time.

Though the photographs and live music are important contributing factors to this unique deli, their famous “Po’ Boy” sandwiches steal the show.  Almost any combination of deli meat — brought over from the Hill! — vegetables and cheese can be loaded into the hoagie-style bun. Feel free to get your creative juices flowing when you step up to the front of the line.

If you do not feel like making any important life decisions, i.e., what you want on your sandwich, then choose one of the suggestions on the board — after all, there are more than 20 different options! Sandwiches that resemble the classic pulled pork, French dip or Reuben are all possibilities, but keep in mind these are no ordinary sandwiches.

If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, try one of their “1904 World’s Fair Chili Dogs” topped with a secret chili recipe, cheese and onions. Even you hot dog snobs from Chicago will have little to complain about after this hot dog tantalizes your taste buds.

Blues Cities’ fresh ingredients and comfortable atmosphere make this a deli a MUST before you head home for the summer.

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