Hitting the Road: Chick and Ruth’s Delly
My love affair with Deli food is beyond comprehension. As I’ve mentioned before, I was raised in an Italian-Catholic household in Suburbia, USA, with absolutely no culinary connection to the old school, kosher-style Jewish deli that is so often depicted in popular culture. Once more, it’s not like I’ve had one of these gastronomic “awakening” moments that everyone seems to have (or at least claimed to have had) in college, as my taste for the All-American meal has pretty much remained, well, the same. Still, I’ve somehow developed a fascination for the old school deli classics despite never having had much experience with them, a strange but true fact which I can only attribute to way too many hours in front of the Travel Channel.
An Annapolis landmark and honest-to-God “mom and pop” kinda place, Chick and Ruth’s has been serving up classic deli and diner fare since 1965. While the original owners (Chick and Ruth Levitt) have long since passed away, the place remains an Annapolis landmark. Situated in the shadow of the capital building on Main Street, Chick and Ruth’s is a place where politicians, Midshipmen, and citizens alike rub elbows in the good old American spirit of breakfast and lunch. This is a place where the entire deli gets up to say the “Pledge of Allegiance” every morning during breakfast, and a place where the signature sandwiches are named after local and national politicians. A constant watering hole for Midshipmen and officers alike from the nearby Naval Academy, there is a patriotic (but decidedly nonpartisan) feel to this place, and dare I say quite inviting to even the deli novice like myself.
I love the service at Chick and Ruth’s. All the servers are quite friendly and very interested in the locals and regulars, and you can tell that most of the people here are on a first name basis with each other. That being said, I didn’t feel like my server, Chuck, was trying to rush me or getting impatient as this deli “newbie” asked a million questions about the menu, and instead I found him to be very helpful and accommodating.
With a menu as long as the original Pentateuch, picking just one thing to eat at Chick and Ruth’s is next to impossible. While I was tempted to go for one of their many breakfast options, it being lunchtime I decided to settle on a classic sandwich, or “samich” as they say in these parts. I originally ordered a regular Corned Beef Sandwich on pumpernickel, although a shortage of my all-time favorite bread at the deli led me to settle with the classic cut on seeded rye. I added lettuce, tomato, onions, and sauerkraut to my sandwich, which clocked out at a reasonable $6.50 for about a 4 oz. serving of meat. My mother, who I had met for lunch, went with the “Robert L. Ehrlich” – a broiled crab cake wrapped in a spinach wrap.
I like my corned beef moist and a tad bit sweet, but also very lean. While I asked for an extra lean cut the meat I received was still a bit fatty, although I have to say the flavor was outstanding and I gobbled it up none the less. My only regret was that I didn’t go for the option of having my rye bread grilled. The puny slices of soft rye never really stood a chance with the amount of toppings I had ordered on my sandwich, with the extra layer of kraut effectively killing the bottom slices of bread. Soggy and falling apart as it was, it was still an outstanding sandwich, and one which I definitely enjoyed!
One of the other great things about Chick and Ruth’s is that they provide every table with a tray of kosher pickles before turning out your order. Vinegary and full of flavor, these things beat chips and dip as an appetizer any day.
There are a ton of chic sort of restaurants that you can eat at in Annapolis, with the small city having hosting a number of top end bars and seafood joints. But if you’re ever in town and are looking for a quick and filling lunch, head on over to Chick and Ruth’s to get not only a great sandwich, but a great and iconic American experience!
- Recommendations: Corned Beef Sandwich, Pastrami Sandwich, any Sandwich really!
- Food: 7.75/10
- Menu Variety: 9.25/10
- Atmosphere: Deli/Diner/Dive
- Price: $$-Moderate= $7.01-$14
- GrubGrade: 8.25/10 (Very Good)
Chick and Ruth’s Delly
165 Main Street
Annapolis, MD 21401