No Name Deli - Columbia, SC

Columbia has a plethora of "hole in the walls" that all the locals know about, but you would never find or even casually run across unless you talk to one of them. No Name Deli, on the corner of Marion and Elmwood, definitely falls into this category. Even though it's on Elmwood, which is an exit of I-126, I drove past it probably a dozen times while on the way to somewhere else without noticing it. And yet, it is one of the most popular delis in the downtown Columbia area, and, for good reason, because it offers a great variety of deli sandwiches, soups, and specials, including a Greek salad the restaurant claims is the best in the Carolinas (a claim that I can't really verify, because I haven't ordered it yet, and I don't like Greek salads enough to try every one in North and South Carolina, so I'll take their word on it).

A couple of random notes about the place so you look like a local when you walk in =): first, the place only takes cash, no credit cards. Second, if the place gets busy (which it does, often by 11:40 during lunch), on the floor, there is a yellow brick path that snakes around, so the line doesn't extend out the door, and remains in the restaurant. Third, you order at the counter and they go fast, so be ready to know what you want to eat before you reach there, so you won't hold up the line.

Because this is a deli in the South, why not offer five flavors of sweet tea? =) Their wide variety of sweet tea is pretty amazing to me (although sometimes, it is a bit too sweet for me); the sheer number of flavors of sweet tea beats everywhere else I've been to in the South so far. As you can see, they have a pretty wide menu of sandwiches with deli meats and hot cooked meats, soups of the day, and a whole bunch of specials on the right side, including my favorite, the Monterey Chicken sandwich...
Although this chicken sandwich isn't quite as good as Drake's in my opinion (another local place in downtown Columbia, I have a short post for there, if you're interested), it is quite good anyway, as well as a bit different. The Monterey chicken sandwich consists of a breaded fried chicken filet (usually decently juicy), bacon, swiss cheese, and some shredded lettuce and tomato on the side. It comes with a side of either fries (which are usually extra crispy and fresh, quite delicious), or mayo or vinegar pasta salad (the mayo is pictured above) . They are really generous with their portions, so it makes for a great, if filling, lunch meal.

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