Editor's note (12-4-11): Since writing this review over four years ago, a few things have changed. A ton of families have moved to Cooper YOung, so the Deli is a bit more kid-friendly. There is a kids menu now, and a nice two-sided activity sheet for them to color. There is also a changing table in the women's room.
Young Avenue Deli
2119 Young Avenue
So technically this is the second bar that Warren and I have taken the monkeys (Satchel, almost 4, and Jiro, almost 2) to. However, the Young Avenue Deli does actually have the word DELI in its name, so it's okay.
We went on a Tuesday night at about 6:30pm (I had a "meet & greet" down the street for my new gig with the Lamplighter). The place was pretty empty looking, but it is a huge space so I guess you can take that statement with a grain of salt. I’d say there were about twenty people eating, ten drinking, and five playing pool. Most of the crowd was young hipsters, although I did spot two 'tween girls playing pool with their (I hope) father.
We grabbed the last available booth by the window so we could trap the monkeys in and prevent them from running over to the video games. There were plenty of lights and gadgets to keep them occupied while we waited for the one and only waitress to notice us and bring over menus. I immediately got a little twitchy and wondered if we had made a mistake in bringing the (extremely amped up) monkeys to eat dinner at what I now considered to be a crowded bar.
I took a deep breath and tried to think happy thoughts.
Once we got the menus I did a quick scan for a kid’s menu, but there wasn’t one. This is actually okay in my book. I get tired of restaurants who assume that children are only interested in eating chicken tenders. (Even if they are right!) I looked at the sandwich selection which seemed a bit sophisticated for my boys who have not been formally introduced to the concept of cold cuts. The sandwiches that seemed like they might be appealing to them, like the popcorn shrimp po-boy, had words like “fire” and “hot” in the title.
“What should we get them?” I asked Warren, who eats here on a semi-regular basis with his co-workers.
“A hamburger? A hot dog?” he suggested.
“Hot dog!” Satchel screamed. “With mustard!”
The hot dog was actually a “Half pound hot dog on a hoagie smothered in cheese, chili, and onions.” Not exactly what the under 5 set looks for in a hot dog, but we ordered it with everything on the side and assumed half a pound of dog was enough to feed two. Warren got a Reuben and I got a Hot Roast Beef, which was roast beef, smoked gouda, and jalepenos on a hoagie. And our meal would not be complete without a big basket of the Deli's award winning French fries. (It would have been nice to get a beer too, but unfortunately Jiro thinks all liquids on the table belong to him.)
I took another deep breath and hoped that it wouldn’t take too long to get our food since the monkeys were starting to plan their escape from the booth.
“I need to poop,” Satchel announced. I didn't know if he was telling the truth or trying to get out of the booth, but after our last outing, I didn’t want to take any chances.
“You take him,” I said to Warren.
“The men’s bathroom is disgusting,” he said. “I assure you, he’d be better off in the women’s.” Again I wondered if I was being told the truth, but decided to err on the safe side.
“Let’s go,” I said to Satchel. I turned to Warren, “Why don’t you let Jiro look at the games?”
We all got up and headed to the back of the bar…er…restaurant. When Satchel and I opened the door to the women’s bathroom, I was surprised to see that it had been completely redone. It had new Mexican tiled floor, new paint, new wall paper, new stalls…new everything it seemed. I was especially thankful for this when, ten minutes later, Satchel informed me that he was locked in.
I was sure the food would be at the table when we finally made our way back (we had a brief pit stop at the Elvis pinball machine), but it wasn’t. I took another deep breath and concentrated on keeping the boys entertained.
Jiro was quite smitten with his water—in lieu of a Styrofoam cup, he had a fancy paper coffee cup—and Satchel busied himself by fiddling with the giant rod attached to some giant curtains above our table.
The waitress came over and said apologetically, “I told them to put everything on the side, but they put the cheese on the hot dog anyway. Would you like for me to take it back?"
"That's okay, cheese shouldn’t be a dealbreaker," I said.
When presented with his hot dog, Satchel said, “That’s not a hot dog!” (It was cut in half and served open face on a hoagie.)
“Just try it,” I said.
Jiro looked at his hot dog pieces that I had cut up and plainly said, “No.”
I didn’t sweat it. Jiro hasn’t been interested in dinner for weeks. He ate a few French fries and Satchel ate two bites of hot dog and a ton of French fries. They both seemed content. I secretly wished some steamed brocoli would appear on the table, but hey.
My Hot Roast Beef hoagie was good, but a little too hot. Even after I took off the jalepenos. Warren seemed to enjoy his Reuben and the chili and onions from the boys’ dinner. I’d say overall the meal was a success. Our waitress (who later told me she had a four-month-old) was excellent and attentive. The place is so big that even at high volumes, the monkeys did not turn any heads. If we would have gotten some quarters for the Elvis pinball machine, the boys may have never wanted to leave.