Jan’s Deli

meter-good-greatJan’s Deli can be summed up in five simple words: Best turkey sandwiches in California. I don’t really need to say anything else about this place, and in fact there isn’t a whole lot more to report. Don’t worry though, I’ll find something to blather on about for another couple paragraphs. Trust me about the sandwiches though. Holy crap.

The signage doubles as the menu.

The signage doubles as the menu.

” A one-trick pony … but what a trick it is “

As it turns out, Menlo Park is full of excellent, quirky eateries. These tiny, hole-in-the-wall, locally owned food joints are exactly the kind of places I seek out when I’m looking for a bite. Sure, I could guarantee myself a modestly below average lunch at Panera Bread or Subway, but I’d much rather take a gamble on something new and different. One of the best of these gambles has turned out to be Jan’s Deli.

Besides sandwiches, there really isn't much else going on here.

Besides sandwiches, there really isn’t much else going on here.

The menu at Jan’s consists of a couple varieties of deli salad and to-order sandwiches. There are the usual varieties of cold cuts to choose from, spicy pork, meatloaf, and legendary hot roast turkey. I’m not exaggerating about the turkey. I would be thrilled if, just once in my entire life, I could make a Thanksgiving turkey half as good as the stuff Jan’s cranks out every day.

This is where the magic happens.

This is where the magic happens.

I usually get the same thing whenever I visit here for lunch: Turkey on Dutch crunch with everything. Deeeeeeeeelish. You can also ask for white meat only and, if you’re in the mood for it, cranberry sauce is a tasty addition. The perfectly fresh bread complements the hot roast turkey and the cool, fresh veggies. A sandwich of this absolute quality is a rare thing indeed. Above all else, the succulent, savory juiciness of the turkey takes center stage. THAT is what good turkey is supposed to taste like.

Pictures do not do this sandwich justice.

Pictures do not do this sandwich justice.

On a recent visit, I also tried out an order of mac salad. It was a bit on the plain side, but I liked it just fine. It wasn’t the best mac salad I’ve ever had; if I’m honest, I can’t even say it was above average. I would order it again for myself, but it’s probably not for everyone.

The minimum definition of macaroni salad.

The minimum definition of macaroni salad.

For a turkey fanatic, Jan’s Deli is the go-to lunch place in Menlo Park. I have dragged a number of other people to this place with mostly positive results. Those who were indifferent about Jan’s just so turned out to be the same people that didn’t order turkey sandwiches. Without a doubt, this strange little place is a one-trick pony … but what a trick it is.

It’s difficult to rate establishments like this. Jan’s doesn’t have a lot of strengths, but what strengths it has it plays to quite well. Jan’s doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t, and I have to admire the simple purity and focus of the friendly folks that run this joint. I rate Jan’s Deli 20 out of 24 Dutch crunch rolls, somewhere between the utter perfection of their flagship turkey sandwiches and the mediocrity of everything else.

+ You will have dreams about the turkey
…but not about the mac salad
+ Fresh, perfect bread
+ Did I mention the turkey?
Limited hours
Menu is all but nonexistent

Jan’s Deli
1004 Alma Street
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 321-9372

Jan's Deli on Urbanspoon

May the drooling begin.

May the drooling begin.

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