Zander’s serves up simple, tasty lunch

Telegraph correspondentDecember 16, 2011 

As my lovely bride has said before, “It’s hard to mess up a sandwich.” She’s right, but it says something when you’ve been making sandwiches for 30 years, which is how long Zander’s Deli has been in its Forest Hill Road location.

If there’s some kind of special ingredient, it’d be the seasoned salt that finds its way into most everything, but the real secret seems to be the service. There’s a family vibe at Zander’s, which makes sense because it’s family owned and operated -- presently on just its second owner, after its first loaned his middle name to the eatery that prides itself on being known humbly as “The Lunch Place.”

Open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. only, that’s exactly what Zander’s does: lunch. Quick. Friendly. Quiet. In a world that adds new bells and whistles to everything it can get its hands on, Zander’s works because it’s focused on being simple, steady and efficient.

Of course, it helps that the food is good, but there’s no secret to ordering here. If you can pick out your favorite meat from ham, turkey, corned beef and roast beef, pair it with either American or Swiss cheese, and decide whether it goes on white, wheat or rye, you’ll be in good shape.

The whole menu works that way, with familiar items made as you’d expect: pimento cheese sandwich, egg salad sandwich, chicken salad, tuna salad, vegetable soup, etc. The exceptions are the Zander’s Cracker -- choice of a meat and cheese on a white tortilla wrap -- and the enormous (and mighty filling) Triple-Decker, a sort of beefed up club: three slices of bread with ham, turkey, bacon, cheese and all the fixings.

Everything I had -- from the Rueben to the Zander’s Jr. -- was obviously fresh and made-to-order. And everything was tasty. Nothing was outstanding, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at anything either. It was all good and a great bargain, too.

Speaking of, to keep their costs down -- so the sign says -- they don’t accept credit or debit, so if you don’t have cash or checks, you better find some. I didn’t, and had to make a trip to the ATM. That was the only hiccup, and really, that’s more of a product of the times than anything else.

In fact, Zander’s has a thoroughly anachronistic flair from the simplicity of the menu and the payment options to the wall of pictures that depict the way Macon used to be.

It took me longer than normal to leave because I found myself looking at pictures of our city I’d never seen before, which is saying something because I’m hooked on that sort of thing. While you might find an egg salad sandwich anywhere in the country, Zander’s Deli feels like the kind of place that really could only be in Macon. There’s something comforting and appealing about that. It’s the sort of thing that motivates repeat customers and might just keep a restaurant in business for a while -- like 30 years.

Zander’s Deli

Two and half stars

Address: 1568 Forest Hill Road

Phone: 474-1062

Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays

Payment: Cash or check only

Smoking: No

Alcohol: No

Kids Menu: No

Noise Level: Low

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Price range: from $3.99-$7.49

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service