Having a little chicken salad on Church Street doesn't hurt

Certain amenities are required of a city: A lovely park, timely sanitation management, a friendly chamber of commerce. But it's a city's arsenal of delis that really sustains its citizens. Even the most ardent foodies sometimes shun the trendy, the hip, the adventurous for a satisfying sandwich, a freezer case of lettuce-free salads and a hot cup of coffee.

To that end, we have Toojays. To be perfectly exact, we have six Toojays in the Orlando area, so there's always one nearby. The newest location opened in July on Church Street. Their something-for-everyone menu is identical to the other Toojays, and the atmosphere, though somewhat amplified by the historic setting, felt very similar, too – booth after booth of veneer tabletops and vinyl seating; middle tables brimming with endless coffee refills, condiments and packets of various sweeteners.

I went for the best-selling items: hot pastrami on rye ($6.79), chicken noodle soup ($2.79) and a black & white cookie ($1.29), all extremely satisfying, except for a slight hitch in trying to fit the humongous slices of rye bread in my mouth. And though the lines can get long and the wait staff more brusque during peak hours, my late-afternoon lunching was leisurely and the iced-tea glasses continuously filled. There's a takeout counter, too, if you don't like the crowd, but that line can get just as crazy. Remember, Toojays is a Best of Orlando winner for its bakery goods and desserts.

Everyone has a favorite at Toojays. One friend can't live without his weekly tuna melt ($6.99). Another friend raves about the sautéed chicken livers ($7.99). Whether the dill chicken salad ($6.79), the potato pancakes ($3.99) or a pound of rugelach ($4.25), Toojays offers the homely classics that make a city's shortcomings seem much more endurable.


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