Sandwiches/Subs in Orlando with Kid Friendly

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    When I was growing up in DeLand, there just weren't any kosher delis around. I didn't discover blintzes, latkes and matzo ball soup until going off to college in Atlanta. And while these days Orlando hardly brims with traditional Jewish food, the unassuming market and deli Amira's is worth a visit.

    As a kosher deli, cleanliness, food and service at Amira's are supervised by the Orlando Rabbinic Council. But don't ask about the name; I felt like a real schlemiel when I asked our waitress for a translation, and she informed me that "Amira" is the owner's first name.

    My companion and I visited for lunch, served between 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. For starters, we split the mini Israeli sampler ($4.95), a smaller version of the Israeli platter ($6.95). I could have made an entire meal out of the falafel (think chickpea hushpuppy) and the eggplant relish, which was similar to ratatouille. The tabouli also was tasty; heavier on parsley than bulghur wheat, it tasted more like a regular salad than other versions I've tried. And while I thought the hummus had too much tahini, my companion pronounced it delicious. Our sampler also came with a big plate of pita bread.

    For my entree, I ordered half a "Virgin Rachel" and a cup of chicken noodle soup ($5.95 for the combo). Even without the customary Swiss cheese, this Rachel was superb. Served grilled on rye bread, it came with a huge, hot stack of pastrami, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. The soup stock was marvelous, although there was only one measly piece of chicken hiding in a cup full of noodles. My companion's overstuffed cold corned beef sandwich on rye ($6.95), served plain with condiments on the side, was similarly outstanding. His sandwich came with cole slaw and potato salad, fries or a potato knish. He chose the latter, a spicy mashed-potato mixture inside flaky pastry.

    Other sandwiches include hot or cold beef brisket ($7.25), chopped liver ($5.25), half-pound turkey burgers ($6.25), and quarter-pound chili dogs ($4.45). And excepting Friday evenings, when Amira's is closed, the dinner menu includes stuffed cabbage ($9.95), prime rib ($12.95), half a rotisserie chicken ($9.95), and open-face roast beef or turkey sandwiches (both $7.95).

    When looking for more than "a good loaf," you'll definitely find it at Au Bon Pain (pronounced ah-bahn-pahn). The high-end bakery-cafe chain with an outpost on every other corner in Manhattan has established its first local site in tourist territory in the Club Hotel at DoubleTree.

    The polished, Art Deco-styled bakery is stocked with its fresh-baked loaves including the famous tomato-basil variety, as well as consistently delicious roast-beef and brie sandwiches, soups in bread bowls, croissants stuffed with chocolate and raspberries, and a killer Boston clam chowder. Vegetarian, low-fat and low-sodium versions are available, too.

    The polished, Art Deco-styled bakery is stocked with its fresh-baked loaves including the famous tomato-basil variety, as well as consistently delicious roast-beef and brie sandwiches, soups in bread bowls, croissants stuffed with chocolate and raspberries, and a killer Boston clam chowder. Vegetarian, low-fat and low-sodium versions are available, too.

    Prices are high – 99 cents for a focaccia bagel, for instance. But there are plush sofas, laptop ports, televisions and plenty of reading material. Other sites in central locations are a strong possibility.

    In 1967, the Beatles released "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," and a small chain of fast-food sandwich joints opened in Orlando. Called Beefy King, they were going to give the Arby's and MacDonald's of the world a run for their money.

    It didn't work out; after peaking with six local outlets, Beefy King faltered and began to close up shops. Eventually, only one remained, stranded on Bumby Avenue, cut off from any franchise network. But in a spirited display of entrepreneurial hardheadedness, this Beefy King refused to die. It went private, expanded its menu and thrived, becoming a local legend blessed with the kind of dedicated following usually reserved for Apple computers and Volkswagens.

    It didn't work out; after peaking with six local outlets, Beefy King faltered and began to close up shops. Eventually, only one remained, stranded on Bumby Avenue, cut off from any franchise network. But in a spirited display of entrepreneurial hardheadedness, this Beefy King refused to die. It went private, expanded its menu and thrived, becoming a local legend blessed with the kind of dedicated following usually reserved for Apple computers and Volkswagens.

    What's the Beefy King secret? I say it's their steamers. Every time a Beefy King sandwich is ordered, the meat is seasoned and heated over a steam vent, which serves to moisten the meat and bring out its natural juices. The sandwiches are then wrapped and served immediately, so there's no wait under an intense heat lamp.

    What's the Beefy King secret? I say it's their steamers. Every time a Beefy King sandwich is ordered, the meat is seasoned and heated over a steam vent, which serves to moisten the meat and bring out its natural juices. The sandwiches are then wrapped and served immediately, so there's no wait under an intense heat lamp.

    All the sandwiches are served hot on a freshly baked sesame-seed kaiser roll, which also benefits from the steaming process. And because the steam method is so effective at coaxing out the flavors in any meat, it's rarely necessary to add ketchup or barbecue sauce – though both are available.

    All the sandwiches are served hot on a freshly baked sesame-seed kaiser roll, which also benefits from the steaming process. And because the steam method is so effective at coaxing out the flavors in any meat, it's rarely necessary to add ketchup or barbecue sauce – though both are available.

    This made-to-order system is slower than the prefabricated strategy that takes place at most big-name fast-food chains. Beefy King makes up for the time with a large and highly efficient crew, who shame the dunderheads serving burgers at those places. No doubt, corporate experts would cringe upon seeing the Beefy King counter folks writing out all orders by hand on paper, but the lines appear to move as fast or faster than any.

    This made-to-order system is slower than the prefabricated strategy that takes place at most big-name fast-food chains. Beefy King makes up for the time with a large and highly efficient crew, who shame the dunderheads serving burgers at those places. No doubt, corporate experts would cringe upon seeing the Beefy King counter folks writing out all orders by hand on paper, but the lines appear to move as fast or faster than any.

    Rightfully reigning at the top of the Beefy King food chain is roast beef, cooked fresh daily and simply delicious. Also on the standard sandwich menu are ham and cheese, turkey breast, pastrami and cheese, corned beef, barbecue beef and barbecue pork. Prices range from $2 for a junior to $4 for an extra large.

    Rightfully reigning at the top of the Beefy King food chain is roast beef, cooked fresh daily and simply delicious. Also on the standard sandwich menu are ham and cheese, turkey breast, pastrami and cheese, corned beef, barbecue beef and barbecue pork. Prices range from $2 for a junior to $4 for an extra large.

    Along with the roast beef (which I adore with melted cheese), my favorites are the savory pastrami and cheese, and the turkey breast, which is a revelation. When I can't make a choice, I order junior sandwiches of all three.

    Along with the roast beef (which I adore with melted cheese), my favorites are the savory pastrami and cheese, and the turkey breast, which is a revelation. When I can't make a choice, I order junior sandwiches of all three.

    The barbecue options are all OK, but it's easy to get barbecue this good at other places, too.

    The barbecue options are all OK, but it's easy to get barbecue this good at other places, too.

    On the side, choices are limited: unexceptional salads, "Beefy spuds" (tater tots) and onion rings. The spuds are fine, but your best bet is to just order another sandwich and revel in the beauty of this mighty little sandwich shop that has survived for 33 years by doing it better than all the big players. Simple, focused quality – now there's a lesson everyone should learn.

    'Business casualâ?�: It's a conundrum that most of us have had to wrap our brains around in the last five years or so. Where once there was a uniform for work (suit, tie; pantyhose, pumps) and one for hanging out (either looser or tighter than the daily monkey suit, depending on your proclivities), now we have to parse a version of our home selves that will fly at work. Food has gone through a similar makeover ' once it was split between expensive white-tablecloth restaurants and greasy spoons, but now the lines have blurred. We want to dress up our Gap-khaki turkey sandwiches with dry-clean-only caper pesto.

    Bella Café doesn't redefine the spiffed-up sandwich; it just prepares them very well. No surprises here; the upmarket salads and sandwiches aren't especially creative, but they are put together with care and quality. The board of menu choices can be overwhelming ' everything's been assigned an Italian title, and the descriptions are hard to read ' but there really are no wrong choices.

    Two in our trio went for panini: the 'Montianoâ?� (roast beef, provolone and caramelized onion daubed with super-sweet honey mustard; $7.50) and the 'Tuscanâ?� (juicy grilled chicken breast ' the real thing, not the icky cold-cut variety ' fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers; $7.50). Both were satisfying, but the real mouth-watering winner was our third companion's choice, the 'Marlianaâ?� ($7.95). A soft baguette ' well, the menu calls it a baguette, but a Frenchman would sneer; I'd label it a crusty roll ' barely managed to contain moist, tender pot roast touched with horseradish and blanketed in cheddar. It was like a portable Sunday dinner. All that was missing was the roasted carrots and potatoes.

    Luckily for me, this companion has a dainty appetite, and I was easily able to talk him out of half of his sandwich. He fell back on his bowl of creamy lobster bisque ($2.99). It was thick as pudding and the color of Thousand Island dressing, lacking the delicate nature one might expect from a usually refined soup, but there were tangible shreds of crustacean.

    On our way out the door, we had to have a bit of gelato ('to settle the stomach,� as my ice-creamaholic father would say). Bella Café serves several flavors of gelato from downtown's Il Gelatone. After sampling tiny spoons of peanut butter and chocolate, we settled for a scoop ($3.25) of dulcet ripe banana and one of raspberry ' studded with tiny crunchy seeds and intensely sweet-tart. After a business-like lunch, we were ready to get back to the casual Orlando Weekly office.

    Despite Bella's distant (to me) location in a busy MetroWest strip mall, I might return soon â?¦ half of that pot-roast sandwich just wasn't enough.

    Orlando isn't exactly known for its bike-friendly thoroughfares, what with the lack of good public transportation clogging up streets with sedans and SUVs of every conceivable size. In the early '90s, in fact, the city was consistently voted as one of the worst in the country for cyclists ' I've personally known two people who were hit by careless drivers while enjoying a ride on our mean streets. And while things have improved in recent years (more bikeways, bike racks, bike awareness), the gains aren't worth an ache in the undercarriage if motorists remain oblivious to pedal-pushers. So, given this city's less-than-stellar rep for cycling I, naturally, opted to drive to Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux, a cute little neighborhood café in Audubon Park and a haven for urban bikers.

    The night I visited, a hobbling chap sporting a crutch (a motorist-related mishap, perhaps?) walked in to unwind with a few of his cycling buddies, giving rise to a cacophony louder than a roomful of yellow jerseys. A place for quiet conversation it's not, even when half-full, but the space, decorated in an understated modern style, proves owners Jen and Darrell Cunningham have good taste. For that matter, so did a glass of Marqués de Griñón caliza ($10.50), the blend of Spanish syrah and graciano getting the meal off to clean start. (In honor of the Vuelta a España, or Tour of Spain, there were a few Spanish selections on the wine list.) A thick smoothie of peanut butter, banana, milk, yogurt and honey ($3.95) made for a far more sluggish beginning.

    But the pace picked up again with the sandwiches, many named after famous cyclists. (A suggestion, if I may: the Steve Bauer-y Bum, with slices of rump roast, pearl onions and banana peppers.) The Rasmussen ($6.95), named after Danish cyclist Michael 'The Chickenâ?� Rasmussen, is everything a chicken salad sandwich should be: creamy, crunchy and subtly sweet, thanks to the inclusion of grapes. The café's focus on health means sandwiches are served with your choice of carrot sticks or Flat Earth vegetable chips, as well as a small bag of Jelly Bellys. The caprese panini ($6.95) was perfectly pressed and not a palate-shredder, with just the right ratio of mozzarella-to-tomato-to-basil. But sampling the broccoli cheddar soup ($3.95) was akin to having your bike chain slip off its sprocket. Too runny and devoid of chunkiness, the soup brought the proceedings to a screeching halt. I did get my fill of the thick, wonderful hummus ($6.95), circled by 'spokesâ?� of celery, cukes, carrots, tomato, zucchini and squash.

    Don't expect to have your order taken tableside. The idea is to place it at the counter, after which the meal will be brought to you. I made the mistake of waiting for my order to be taken, and Jen was kind and gracious enough to oblige, but that isn't the norm. It's easy to make that assumption, as the place just looks like it has full table service. I made sure to get off my seat when it came time for dessert, and it's a good thing, too, as both the Nutella cupcake ($1.85) and the chocolate-coconut-butterscotch brownie ($2.95) were finish-line favorites. A cup of Jittery Joe's coffee ($1.45) offered an appropriate kick-start.

    Riding your bike to B3 is encouraged ' just keep your eye on the racks outside, lest you inadvertently re-create a scene from a Vittorio de Sica film. The restaurant business, after all, has always had a cyclical nature.

    Given the seemingly unambiguous moniker of Boston Bakery & Café, one would expect to find display cases filled with mouthwatering cream pies, cupcakes, whoopee pies, molasses-sweetened brown bread and, perhaps, the odd patron or two downing frothy glass mugs of Irish coffee. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. Instead, this simple café on the fringes of Little Saigon is primarily a Vietnamese restaurant, and lies smack dab in the middle of what I like to call the CoFer District (Colonial Drive and Ferncreek Avenue).

    Further digging revealed that the name isn't so cryptic after all. Owners Tony and Yolanda Vu ran a restaurant in the Boston suburb of Quincy before swapping nor'easters for sweltering zephyrs a year ago. The couple shares kitchen and cooking responsibilities, but it's Yolanda who handles the baking duties.

    A large cake display case sits at the core of the square space, but upon entering, neither 'bakery� nor 'café� are descriptors that immediately leap to mind. In fact, the baby blue'colored walls and children milling about makes it feel more like a nursery or after-school daycare. Even so, I did glimpse a few baguettes resting on sheet pans behind the counter, undoubtedly prepared for one of their many banh mi, or Vietnamese sandwiches (ask for a side of their homemade butter if ordering one).

    But the purpose of this assignment was to spotlight confections, not comestibles, and with Halloween looming, focusing on a place where those of us over the age of 13 could go and satisfy our sweet tooths seemed imperative. So, off to the display case I went in search of treats but, I have to say, I felt slightly tricked after perusing the offerings. Most were cake rolls, birthday cakes and Napoleons that weren't offered by the slice; and there was nary a tart, pie, turnover or éclair in sight.

    Evidently, they were all sold out of personal-sized cakes, but a small, oval-shaped 'cheese cakeâ?� ($2) stared back at me, which I promptly ordered and devoured in four bites. Now this isn't your Cheesecake Factory brand of cheesecake; it's more like pound cake with a layer of soft cream cheese in the center, and rather delicious.

    Pre-packaged cakes made by a friend of the owner are also available, but the plastic wrapping is a total buzz kill.

    Still craving cake and cake-like products, I got myself a chocolate cake roll ($8), which resembled a log made of sponge. Light and airy with a hint of coffee flavoring, the roll embodied a minimalist ideal in both look and taste. I took it home and enjoyed it deeply with a dollop of double Devonshire cream. Simple, unaffected, not too sweet, but far from orgasmic.

    The menu board beckoned to 'experience the slush magicâ?� so, on this particular visit, my accompanying beverage of choice was a perfectly tangy and refreshing passionfruit slushie ($3.50). Other flavors, ranging from mint-chocolate to watermelon, are also offered, each with the option to add chewy 'pearls,â?� or tapioca balls, to the mix for an additional 40 cents. Those rubbery orbs are often found dotting the bottoms of plastic cups filled with milk tea, thus the terms 'bubble tea,â?� 'pearl teaâ?� and 'boba tea.â?� The drink, hugely popular in cities with large Asian populations, was as trendy as Starbucks' lattes among high school and college students when I was growing up in Toronto, and it seems to have a burgeoning following here in Orlando. I enjoyed the sugary Thai bubble tea ($3) until the tapioca balls got stuck in my straw. Neophytes, take heed: When you're offered a straw from the decanter, be sure to choose one wide enough to suck up the balls. Uhh, yeah.

    If sipping bubble tea through a broad, colorful straw seems too emasculating an act, might I suggest the red bean tea ($3.50), sans tapioca. The proteined potable (the sole nod to their Beantown roots) features red bean (or azuki) powder, producing a smoky slurp akin to liquid barbecue.

    Vietnamese coffee ($2), meticulously prepared in a press pot by blending a chicory-flavored French roast with Vietnamese arabica and robusta grounds, will definitely turn your crank. Served in a small glass, the coffee is at once ridiculously strong, syrupy-sweet and glacially creamy thanks to the addition of sweetened condensed milk. Amusing side note: The brand of the chicory-flavored coffee, Café Demonte, is a blatant rip-off of Café du Monde and even comes in a can that looks remarkably similar to the one the venerable Big Easy coffeehouse produces.

    Admittedly, I was a little disappointed in this bakery, especially when, on a return visit, the display case was, once again, devoid of individually portioned baked goods. Pissa! If sweet treats are what you crave this Halloween, avoid being tricked and take your chances at the Publix across the street.

    Upon gazing at Brianto's stark white walls, ornamented with memorabilia and photographs of every Philadelphia Phillies baseball player that ever donned a red-pinstriped uniform, I asked the good-natured lad behind the counter a question that no patron had ever dared to ask, let alone in deadpan fashion: 'Why no photos of Joe Carter?â?�

    Record screech.

    In the moments that ensued, his bulging gaze met my squinting glare for what seemed like minutes, but when the hoagie virtuoso's eyes eventually regained focus, we were all able to (thankfully) laugh the moment off. 'You should've said that after you got your food,â?� he joked ' at least I think he was joking. Carter's home run off Phillies closer Mitch Williams to win the '93 World Series for the Blue Jays isn't exactly a high point in the city's sports history. So in a place where even the logo is a facsimile of their beloved Phillies', I was happy to have all my teeth after uttering the cheeky quip: teeth I needed in order to chomp down on their huge hoagies and cheesesteaks.

    They take their cheesesteaks seriously here ' I'm talking Amoroso's hearth-baked rolls and sliced rib-eye steak, flown straight in from the City of Brotherly Love. And they don't skimp on the chopped meat in the cheesesteak supreme ($5.99 for 6-inch; $8.99 for 12-inch; $12.99 for 18-inch), a beefy sub with the requisite onions, green peppers and mushrooms oozing with sharp provolone and Cheez Whiz. Be sure to Whiz it up, as the cheesesteak borders on bland without it, likely due to the meat not being seasoned ' or not strongly enough.

    For the same price, you can opt to make the very same cheesesteak a 'cheesesteak hoagie,â?� which means adding lettuce, tomato, raw onions and a splash of oil, vinegar and mayo. The hoagie comes without green peppers or mushrooms, but I was surprised at how much better it was than the cheesesteak supreme. Everyone at the table agreed that this was the best sandwich of the lot, and we picked the 18-inch behemoth clean. Also good was the Liberty Bell ($5.99, 6-inch; $8.99, 12-inch; $12.99, 18-inch), a cold hoagie stuffed to the hilt with ham, turkey and roast beef, and plenty of sweet and hot peppers to pack a punch. The hot meatball hoagie ($4.49, 6-inch; $7.49, 12-inch; $11.49, 18-inch) was endorsed by one of my Italian dining companions ' not so much for the sub itself, but for the well-seasoned meatballs. You'll also find other Keystone State faves such as crackling Herr's potato chips (59 cents, small; 99 cents, medium; $1.59, large), refreshingly crisp Hank's birch beer ($1.99) and sugary Tastykakes ($1.29). Junk food connoisseurs may disagree, but to me, the Tastykakes tasted just like Hostess cupcakes/Ding Dongs/Ho Hos.

    Brianto's may not satisfy pangs for the legendary cheesesteaks and hoagies cooked up at Pat's or Geno's in Philadelphia, but the guys here make every effort to bring a little Philly flavor to Central Florida. If they focused a bit of that effort in seasoning the beef, transplanted Philadelphians might flock to Avalon Park for some of their griddled gourmandizing.

    Then, like Joe Carter off a Mitch Williams fastball, they'll be sure to hit it out the park.

    The day I went to Champs Deli across the street from the downtown library, there were just five people in the place. Still, I almost didn't make it in.

    The little phone-booth-sized established for quite a while, with Chef George serving his famous pulled-pork sandwiches, and even though it's now owned by Lilia's Catering, George is still there. (By the way, Champ's Bakery on West Church has no connection to this place.)

    The little phone-booth-sized established for quite a while, with Chef George serving his famous pulled-pork sandwiches, and even though it's now owned by Lilia's Catering, George is still there. (By the way, Champ's Bakery on West Church has no connection to this place.)

    The cold-cut selection is pretty ordinary, but where else can you get a pretty decent chicken-salad sandwich and a cup of soup for $3.95, or a hot breakfast sammich for a buck-fifty? The banter that flies around might be reason enough to stop by, but if you're not in the neighborhood, they have a website. They have a website! It's almost bigger than the deli! Check Champs Deli if you need a catering menu.

    Tucked away in the Hidden Gardens area of Park Avenue is a shiny new place for noontime snacking, appropriately called The Lunch Box. The sandwich shop is an extension of Olive This, Relish That, the quirky tapenade, jam and foodstuff place owned by the Doggie Door folks. So call this the People Door, if you will.

    Wind through the back courtyard of the Hidden Gardens or walk right in to the front door of Olive This, Relish That for yummy sandwiches made with prime rib and mushrooms sauteed in vermouth; tarragon chicken salad (get there early, this one sells out); or grilled Italian bread with fontina cheese and peppers.

    Wind through the back courtyard of the Hidden Gardens or walk right in to the front door of Olive This, Relish That for yummy sandwiches made with prime rib and mushrooms sauteed in vermouth; tarragon chicken salad (get there early, this one sells out); or grilled Italian bread with fontina cheese and peppers.

    Build your own from specialty breads such as black olive or ciabatta rolls, and add a vegetable, ham and pasta salad and a fresh-baked cookie, and you've got something great to pack into your own tin pail.

    A garden of leafy delights awaits at Eden’s, a clean, spacious green house on North Orange sandwiched between Winnie’s Oriental Garden and the Ravenous Pig. The focus here is on the body (healthy food), spirit (a place for quiet reflection and artistic expression) and mind (free Wi-Fi), though their wraps and salads really take center stage. The blues and greens of the interior reflect the colors of the sky, plants and water, but are also reminiscent of an Aegean café, which may have induced me to order the Athena ($4.80). The mélange of greens, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cukes, peppers, snow peas and feta can be stuffed in a wrap or enjoyed as a traditional bowl of salad. I opted for the former (in a tomato-basil wrap) and had some lemon-pepper chicken thrown in for an additional $2. The flavors were rightfully tangy, if a tad salty. I really liked the Daisy ($4.80), a refreshingly sweet and delightfully nutty salad that I enjoyed sans wrap. Mandarin oranges and strawberries provided the pop, almonds and sunflower seeds the crunch and raspberry vinaigrette the invigorating splash.

    There are 11 different salads from which to choose, and if none tickles your fancy, create your own from Eden’s 37 available “tossings” and 12 dressings. Counter service can slow considerably during the lunch rush, but that’ll give you a chance to peruse the original artwork and sayings on the walls. Oh, and if you’re looking for a little quiet reflection, the consistent chatter and piped-in music could foil any meditative urges. It should be noted that the items above, though ordered “small,” were enormous portions, but really – eating too much salad is like taking too many naps; how bad for you could it possibly be?

    They're heavy on the Philly at Famous Phil's: names of city landmarks on the wallpaper, photos of the city everywhere, recent issues of Philadelphia magazine on the tables. The connection's even in the slogan, just in case you missed it: "Real Philly people making real Philly cheese steaks." (The editor in me wonders: Are they real people from Philly, or are they people who are really from Philly?)

    So these had better be some fine cheese steaks, right? After all, one does not invoke the hometown of the cheese steak lightly.

    On that score, Phil's is hit and miss. The cheese steaks themselves ($2.99 to $5.25) are good; not great, but a notch above the cheese steaks you'll get at, say, a sub shop. They crank 'em out right out in the open on a big flat grill, and the smell of searing beef and frying onions brings back fond memories of carnivals past. I found the meat flavorful but dry, not sopping and juicy the way a memorable sandwich should be.

    Then there's everything else at Phil's. I had an all-American hoagie ($3.99) that was the most uninspired sub I've encountered outside of a Subway. The Italian wedding soup ($1.99) was indistinguishable from canned, and the onion rings ($1.89) were mushy on the inside and left a puddle of grease in the bottom of the container.

    The place was packed with Full Sail students, and most of them were eating cheese steaks; the wise move is to do the same and not stray too far down the menu.

    There are two kinds of luxury. There's the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous kind or the real-life-only-much-better kind. Solid-gold cutlery, Chanel couture and Rolls-Royces fall into the first camp. James Perse T-shirts, Prada lip balm and Greens & Grille fall squarely into the second: simple everyday basics that turn out to be deceptively luxurious.

    At first blush, Greens & Grille seems pleasant but nothing special. A high-ceilinged room decorated in industrial-lite chic ' concrete floor, exposed ducts overhead, lots of galvanized steel ' slowly reveals lavish touches: potted orchids blooming on the tables of the high-backed booths; stainless steel fresh-pepper grinders; heavy white china plates.

    The cafeteria-style service plays up the bare-bones-basic mood, but as you stand at the salad, grilled-meat or sandwich station, the high quality of the ingredients and preparation becomes apparent. On my first visit, I was befuddled by the tempting array of salad toppings. Salad bars are so often mirages ' the vision of a 30-foot-long array of gorgeous vegetables turns out to be 10 yards of iceberg lettuce, canned beets and sodden macaroni salad. At Greens & Grille, my fantasy salad bar coalesced before my eyes: jade-green edamame, oven-roasted beets, juicy kalamata olives. That heightened-basics approach revealed itself here as well: crispy pancetta instead of bacon bits; sweet grilled red-onion strips instead of stiff, stinky purple rings.

    For $6.50, you can choose your organic greens (romaine or baby 'farmer's greensâ?�) and add five out of the 27 'seasonal toppingsâ?� available. For another $2.50, add grilled-to-order turkey, pork loin, chicken, steak, shrimp or portobello mushroom. (I chose the porcini-rubbed flank steak.) The salads are tossed and dressed before your eyes. All dressings are made from scratch daily; I especially recommend the sherry-thyme vinaigrette. Also, the greens can be 'rolled or bowledâ?� ' that is, tossed onto a plate or wrapped up in a grilled flatbread.

    The sandwich station plunks any of the above-mentioned grilled meats onto bread nicely charred on the grill when you order. There's nothing simpler than a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and onion, but the G&G version I ate was worlds beyond any average sandwich shop's. First, and most importantly, the turkey was sliced from a roasted breast, not the reconstituted meat slurry usually passed off as 'cold cuts.� Instead of a pale tomato and a leaf of iceberg lettuce, my sandwich was finished with organic baby greens, grilled onions and juicy roasted tomato. Rather than plasticky American, G&G offers Havarti, Gruyère, Gorgonzola and white cheddar; I chose the Havarti. I added a generous portion of Hass avocado (also luscious on my companion's portobello-mushroom sandwich). A side of macaroni and cheese ($3.50) was incredibly rich, bubbling-hot and crowned with crunchy bread crumbs; the wild mushroom soup ($4.50) was an earthy, savory broth with generous chunks of sauteed creminis.

    The only problem with all of this is greed. I had to remind myself on my second visit not to overload the circuits with Gorgonzola and steak and avocado and pancetta, enticing as it all was. When each element sings with freshness, what would be a spartan green salad or vegan sandwich elsewhere becomes a rich symphony of tastes. The roasted turkey, faintly tasting of lemon and herbs, was sufficient unto itself; had I not made a point of nibbling an unadorned bite, its essence might have been lost under all of the other equally wonderful ingredients. And this attention to detail doesn't come cheap. It's easy to spend almost $9 on a simple sandwich or salad.

    Chef/owner Julie Petrakis, formerly of slow-food palace Primo and now pastry chef at Luma on Park, has departed after developing the recipes, leaving her brother-in-law Brian to head the team. Some changes have already begun; the excellent tomatoes, previously roasted in-house, are now sourced from Sysco, according to one of the friendly prep folk. (Much as the name 'Syscoâ?� might curl any foodie's lip, I must admit that I found the tomatoes exceptional, and was chagrined to learn their provenance.) Let's hope the new chef Rob Pompa is able to keep up the high standards. With any luck, G&G will not only survive but thrive and expand; this covert hedonist is running out of excuses to drive all the way to Millenia for a sandwich.

    Drive by Hot Dog Heaven at high noon, and the scene is eternally the same: Hordes of "red hot" lovers are hunched over baskets of dogs and fries on the patio tables, chowing down, generally oblivious to the noise and traffic fumes of Colonial Drive.

    Pull over by the landmark neon hot-dog sign to climb in line with the rest of the seekers, but be prepared to choose from among the three dozen variations – that's right, three dozen. There are Southern dogs heaped with slaw, Chicago dogs smothered with peppers, pickles, relish and tomatoes, and New York dogs topped with mustard and onions. And every variety is available in regular and jumbo size.

    For more than 10 years, owner Mike Feld, a native Chicagoan, has served the same brand of hot dogs he lived on for years in the Windy City. The Vienna Beef brand is made with lean bull beef, all-natural casings and no artificial fillers. Feld steams each hot dog to assure the most thorough cooking.

    We placed our order and then claimed our red plastic baskets brimming with fries. We took a seat at the only indoor space available, a small nook with bar seating, surrounded by Chicago photography and autographed pictures of radio hosts and a former Miss Florida. It didn't take long to devour the jumbo Reuben basket ($5.09), with the hot dog topped with Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese.

    We also liked the jumbo chili, cheese and slaw dog basket ($4.99), which comes with a choice of chili with or without beans. The beanless packed a punch, but wasn't too greasy or spicy. And the fries were the way fries should be: sizzling and crisp outside, steamy inside.

    With all the focus on hot dogs, it wasn't surprising to find that some of the side items we sampled were marginally acceptable. The potato salad and beans were completely forgettable, but the macaroni pasta salad was an improvement. The Chicago hot tamale (99 cents) was so overprocessed and spicy that we didn't dare take more than a bite.

    A much better go-with choice would be a root-beer float ($2.99). They also whip up some tall shakes ($2.99) with pumpkin and vanilla ice cream, or fudge swirl with cookies and cream.

    The aroma of dogs and fries hangs in the room, broken only by blasts of wind and traffic every time the door opens. While the setting may not be pretty, the Hot Dog Heaven is worthy of a visit the next time you need a frankfurter fix.

    Humble Panini Kitchen forgoes processed meats for in-house roasting, making for some of the most succulent beef, chicken, and turkey sandwiches in town. Veggie options, like the hummus-filled "Alibaba" are equally impressive. Sides like sweet-and-spicy cactus chili and roasted sweet potato waffle fries are not to be overlooked. Fresh-baked cookies can appease sweet cravings, but dessert options overall need improvement. Closed Sundays.

    You can quibble and kvetch all you want about how Jason's isn't a real deli ' where's the matzo ball soup, you'll ask? The nova lox? Fair enough. I'll cede that this chain based out of Beaumont, Texas, doesn't conform to Delancey Street standards, but it's pretty much unrivaled on Colonial Drive. In fact, not since the days when Schlotzky's occupied a small space across from the Fashion Square Mall has there been a deli worth visiting in the area.

    And no matter what time you go, you're sure to witness some sweaty gym-rat spillage from the L.A. Fitness next door. But you can't blame them, considering Jason's guarantee of a trans fat'free dining experience, highlighted by a section of the menu devoted to 'healthy heart slimwichesâ?� ' wraps and sandwiches low in calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium. A decent salad bar ($6.59), properly attended to and always stocked with fresh vegetables, is another popular option for the health- conscious, not that the rest of the menu, with its paninis, wraps, salads, soups, po'boys, traditional sandwiches and muffulettas, is an artery-clogging affair. Muffulettas, by the way, are waggishly referred to as 'muffâ?� sandwiches, and those of you with enough gumption to order the 'whole muffâ?� ($10.99) with a straight face will be rewarded with an enormous 9-inch muffuletta filled with layers of provolone, olive mix and your choice of ham, salami or oven-roasted turkey (half- and quarter-muff sandwiches are also offered).

    I opted for the slightly less obscene-sounding Reuben the Great ($7.29). The corned beef wasn't hot, as advertised, but it was warm and piled high on Swiss-laid, doughy rye. What I really liked was that the sauerkraut was still crunchy and not overly sharp, likely because of a shorter fermentation cycle. My only complaint, and it's a small one, is that the soft bread ultimately succumbed to the beefiness and tore. The cup of chili-thick vegetable soup ($2.59) felt particularly comforting on this rainy evening with its heart-healthy broth of plump lima beans, corn and carrot wedges. The Sergeant Pepper po'boy ($6.59), a Texas take on the French dip sandwich layered with thin slices of roast beef, sauteed onions, bell peppers and a provolone smother, had a surprising kick, and a dunk in the jus made it all the more mouthwatering. Again, the only complaint was the texture of the bread; it could've used a bit more toasting. The barbecue brisket sandwich ($6.99), one of their daily specials, wasn't anywhere near as enjoyable as the others, primarily because of the overwhelmingly sweet sauce. Of course, you're free to custom-build your own sandwich from the assortment of meats, breads, fillers and dressings available.

    The gargantuan baked potatoes seem like byproducts of a nuclear accident, but the secret of their girth, I later found out, is the fusion of two large spuds to create an Atkins nightmare. Potatoes are baked for an hour, then microwaved when your order is placed. The spud au broc ($5.79), a meal in itself, is loaded with broccoli heads, green onions, bacon and gooey cheddar, though a petite half-size is available for $1 less.

    The sizable dining space is accoutred with ceiling fans and photographs of European cityscapes (which I thought slightly odd), and is designed to handle large numbers of patrons. Their system ' place your order, take a number, have a seat and wait for your food to be brought out ' isn't without its flaws. My strawberry shortcake ($2.99) failed to materialize, so I had to retrieve it myself from the counter. And I'm glad I did. The two layers of cake filled with cream, flavored with vanilla and topped with strawberry slices was a light and not-too-sweet capper.

    But there's no harm in saving your cash and settling for a cup or two of complimentary low-fat ice cream. Like most of the offerings here, it's a suitable antidote to guilty consciences.

    The Florida Film Festival at Enzian Theater continues through March 14, and visitors to the Maitland area have been exploring the shiny eateries along Orlando Avenue, north of Winter Park Village. But to complete the Maitland experience, make a visit to Kappy's, the downscale landmark that makes its own "anti-" statement about development. Use a little imagination to hear the car engines and radios that used to roar through Kappy's -- a 1950s-style diner with a covered parking area and picnic tables. The car-rally days have ended, says owner Bob Caplan. He's kept the place unchanged for 30 years come this May, and he bought it secondhand.

    Caplan, a firm believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was working the order window the other night, whipping up shakes from his weathered building that backs up onto railroad tracks.

    Caplan, a firm believer in "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was working the order window the other night, whipping up shakes from his weathered building that backs up onto railroad tracks.

    The clientele who swing in to the odd lot at the corner of Sybelia Avenue (across from a shiny 7-Eleven) are from all walks of life, joined by want of Kappy's Philly cheese steaks, hot dogs, burgers, subs, shakes, waffle fries, onion rings and root beer floats.

    The clientele who swing in to the odd lot at the corner of Sybelia Avenue (across from a shiny 7-Eleven) are from all walks of life, joined by want of Kappy's Philly cheese steaks, hot dogs, burgers, subs, shakes, waffle fries, onion rings and root beer floats.

    For old time's sake, we tried the "special" -- Philly cheese steak and onion, waffle fries and drink ($5) -- which contained enough carbohydrates to fuel a football team. We also tried the worthy vegetarian sub ($3.05), with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions, and a dusting of oregano. The vanilla shake tasted like homemade ($2.85), and the waffle fries were not greasy (89 cents, small).

    For old time's sake, we tried the "special" -- Philly cheese steak and onion, waffle fries and drink ($5) -- which contained enough carbohydrates to fuel a football team. We also tried the worthy vegetarian sub ($3.05), with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato and onions, and a dusting of oregano. The vanilla shake tasted like homemade ($2.85), and the waffle fries were not greasy (89 cents, small).

    There's a slice of counter space inside, with worn stainless-steel swiveling stools that make you feel like you're on the set of a New York hole in the wall.

    We didn't expect to be greeted with a remote beeper and a 20-minute wait for a table when we arrived at Le Peep on a Saturday morning. But then, it was our first visit, and those who live in the Bay Hill/Dr. Phillips area were way ahead of us. In fact, Le Peep has been packing them in for 12 years at the intersection of Kirkman and Conroy/Windermere roads.

    Le Peep was originally an upscale Aspen breakfast spot, founded by a ski buff who wanted to pay the bills and hit the slopes in the afternoon. As the restaurant has expanded into a national chain, some of the individual charm has given way to formulas and concepts. The menu reads like a series of cutesy one-liners, many of them trademarked, like the "pampered eggs," "berry patch waffles," "Sir Benedict omelettes" and "proud bird" chicken sandwiches.

    Le Peep was originally an upscale Aspen breakfast spot, founded by a ski buff who wanted to pay the bills and hit the slopes in the afternoon. As the restaurant has expanded into a national chain, some of the individual charm has given way to formulas and concepts. The menu reads like a series of cutesy one-liners, many of them trademarked, like the "pampered eggs," "berry patch waffles," "Sir Benedict omelettes" and "proud bird" chicken sandwiches.

    We were won over by the muffins. "Gooey buns" ($1.95) are nothing like they sound. They're actually English muffins transformed into toasted-brown-sugar-and-cinnamon rolls, and served with a dollop of cream cheese and a side of baked apples.

    We were won over by the muffins. "Gooey buns" ($1.95) are nothing like they sound. They're actually English muffins transformed into toasted-brown-sugar-and-cinnamon rolls, and served with a dollop of cream cheese and a side of baked apples.

    The dining area is a step up from a Denny's or a Perkins, with patio seating and umbrellas over some of the tables. Every table was filled, so the waiters were on their toes. But with an ever-present crowd of people waiting in line out front, there was understandably more emphasis on turning tables than encouraging customers to linger.

    The dining area is a step up from a Denny's or a Perkins, with patio seating and umbrellas over some of the tables. Every table was filled, so the waiters were on their toes. But with an ever-present crowd of people waiting in line out front, there was understandably more emphasis on turning tables than encouraging customers to linger.

    With dozens of combinations of omelets, skillet dishes, French toast, Belgian waffles and pancakes, there's something for everyone here. Some of it is original, like the "granola blues" pancakes that have crunch thanks to the blueberry granola ($4.55). But even better are the pancakes textured with sliced bananas and crumbled Southern pecans ($4.15).

    With dozens of combinations of omelets, skillet dishes, French toast, Belgian waffles and pancakes, there's something for everyone here. Some of it is original, like the "granola blues" pancakes that have crunch thanks to the blueberry granola ($4.55). But even better are the pancakes textured with sliced bananas and crumbled Southern pecans ($4.15).

    By comparison, "original French toast" ($4.50) isn't as exciting as the menu's detailed description. The thick slices of Vienna bread, soaked in custard batter and grilled until light and golden, taste like plain old French toast.

    By comparison, "original French toast" ($4.50) isn't as exciting as the menu's detailed description. The thick slices of Vienna bread, soaked in custard batter and grilled until light and golden, taste like plain old French toast.

    Many items are featured with hollandaise sauce, and a little bit of caution might be in order here. A heavy helping of the sauce weighed down an otherwise fine seafood skillet crepe ($6.15), which was filled with crabmeat, broccoli and veggies. On the side, "peasant potatoes" were a lame rendition of diced potatoes that tasted dry and flavorless.

    Many items are featured with hollandaise sauce, and a little bit of caution might be in order here. A heavy helping of the sauce weighed down an otherwise fine seafood skillet crepe ($6.15), which was filled with crabmeat, broccoli and veggies. On the side, "peasant potatoes" were a lame rendition of diced potatoes that tasted dry and flavorless.

    The "light" omelets are quite good, made with whipped egg-whites and light cheddar cheese. We liked "white lightning" ($6.15), a Southwestern version with chicken, green chiles and guacamole.

    The "light" omelets are quite good, made with whipped egg-whites and light cheddar cheese. We liked "white lightning" ($6.15), a Southwestern version with chicken, green chiles and guacamole.

    And if you're a fan of fresh-squeezed orange juice, Le Peep offers one of the best deals in town. A half-liter carafe ($2.95) easily serves two, and then some.

    And if you're a fan of fresh-squeezed orange juice, Le Peep offers one of the best deals in town. A half-liter carafe ($2.95) easily serves two, and then some.

    With its wide variety of breakfast and brunch meals, Le Peep fills a niche in the high-traffic area. But there isn't anything new going on here that would drive hungry brunchers to traveling extremes.

    When I lived in Atlanta in the early 1990s, I was one broke-ass sucker. Before I began my illustrious career in alternative journalism, I was sleeping on a friend's floor, working various jobs, avoiding responsibility and managing to drink most of my paycheck. Therefore, despite all the wonderful dining options around town, my stomach had to endure the standard bohemian rations of cheap ramen and 99-cent fast-food menus.

    Occasionally, though, minor financial windfalls would come my way, and whatever wasn't spent in pursuit of entertainment was splurged on one of two meals: fried chicken at the Silver Grill (the best fried chicken on the planet) or pizza at Mellow Mushroom. And Mellow Mushroom was the first place I ever encountered a tofu anything that tasted good. Yeah, tofu on your pizza. Weird, right? But the, um, mellow vibe at the Mushroom helped keep the hippie leanings of its pizza menu from turning the joint into some sort of granola factory. The mood was communal, the beer was cheap and the pizza – with meat or without – was always excellent.

    Not surprisingly, the restaurant was successful to the point of being an institution. The first Mellow Mushroom opened in the '70s near Georgia Tech; there are now more than 50 locations throughout the Southeast. So when construction began on a Mellow Mushroom outpost – near my house even! – I was eager for a chance to see what happens when a restaurant whose identity is intertwined with its city of origin branches out into foreign territory. Would the atmosphere be as convivial? Would they have good beer? Would this charming and wonderful part of my own personal history have been turned into an Olive Garden-style commodity? Most importantly, would they have good pizza?

    Answers: Yes, but with effort. Hell, yes. Yes, but not in a bad way. Absolutely.

    As with any new restaurant in Winter Park, interest in Mellow Mushroom's opening was high. We went just a few days after it opened and were greeted by a polite hostess who informed us there was a 15-minute wait, which was surprising, but would have been fine if there had actually been a place to wait. The restaurant is squeezed into a tiny plot of land in the Publix shopping plaza on Aloma Avenue, and there's precious little room for parking near the restaurant (unless you count the plaza's huge parking lot nearby). With no real waiting area, this means the parking lot also functions as an ersatz holding pen for those on the list.

    That's the only thing I found wrong with the new Mellow Mushroom.

    Though it shone with a sparkly freshness that was a little off-putting, the classic-rock soundtrack and quasi-psychedelic artwork (right down to the "plasticine porter" bathroom-door markers) were all hallmarks of the relaxed, counter-culture Mushroom environment. A reassuringly long line of beer taps at the bar was a great sight; the fact that they all poured excellent Shipyard products made me giddy.

    Our waitress was one of those sit-at-the-table types, which is usually annoying, but when she served our food, it could have been brought to us by Dick Cheney and we would have left a good tip. Huge chunks of fresh, moist mozzarella and tomato slices topped a massive bed of fresh field greens in the Capri salad ($7). The teriyaki-marinated tofu in our half-hoagie ($3.75) was accented by grilled onions, peppers and sprouts and slathered with mayonnaise. The pretzels ($3.70) were made with superfresh dough and baked on a pizza stone.

    Oh yeah, the pizza. The 10-inch "Magical Mystery Tour" ($10.75) pie – spinach, feta, mozzarella, portobello mushrooms on a pesto (rather than marinara) base – was simply astounding, with copious toppings and a buttery, Parmesan-topped crust. Despite the other excellent offerings on the menu, the pizza's what it's all about here, and I'm pleased to report that expansion has done nothing to diminish the quality.

    Sure, the slick new surroundings don't have the same scrappy appeal as the original shops, but the pizza's still great and, hey, I don't have the same scrappy appeal I had a decade ago either. I guess that's a fair trade.

    As one might expect, the N. Park Ave. Deli & Food Mart is on the famous Park Avenue in Winter Park. But it's on NORTH Park Avenue, the more unsightly other end of the spectrum than the chichi shops. For years, the previous owners – Anna Federer, a native Hungarian, and her husband – made their mark by offering hot goulash, among the other ethnic recipes, in the deli behind the counter of what's really a convenience store. Now retired, the Federers still own the building but a new couple is carrying on the tradition, sans goulash.

    Still, the deli carries an interesting menu of cheap sandwiches and subs. A healthy egg salad on wheat with lettuce and tomatoes costs $3.19. Or take home a pound of the egg salad for $4.19. The hefty hummus and tabouli on a wrap was $4.99. The tabouli tasted a bit different than the typical varieties sold about town; this version was thick with moist bulgur wheat and thoroughly infused with the lemon juice and olive oil. It was full of flavor.

    The deli also prepares the usual varieties of cold or hot sandwiches ($4.79-$5.19), from a fried chicken sandwich with fries to a tuna melt on pita. The Reuben sampled was prepared and heated in style, but there was a non-discussed substitution of cheddar cheese for Swiss. The fries were a wonder, though, thick and crispy, cooked in an auto-fry machine just for me.

    The deli sits a block before North Park merges into U.S. Hwy. 17-92, near Maitland, so it's tucked off the main road and looks a bit junky, unless you're a local who knows better. And after hours, don't be shocked by the sight of the metal security gates that all but obscure the front of the store.

    Downtown hardly needs another sandwich shop, but there is a captive-audience prosperity that is fueling outlets like Pickles Original N.Y. Deli, strategically located inside the Orange County Administration Building.

    Pass clients waiting for marriage licenses and building permits on the first floor to enter the tiny cafe with ample indoor and outdoor seating. Two pickle barrels center the bustling ordering/waiting triangle, stocked with upscale Boar's Head meats, hand-dipped ice cream and gourmet desserts.

    Pass clients waiting for marriage licenses and building permits on the first floor to enter the tiny cafe with ample indoor and outdoor seating. Two pickle barrels center the bustling ordering/waiting triangle, stocked with upscale Boar's Head meats, hand-dipped ice cream and gourmet desserts.

    But an office takeout yielded more yawns than yums for the "turkey Reuben" and the "Italiano" sandwich with salami, ham and provolone on a hero roll (both $4.50). Only the "New Yorker" got a thumbs up for the turkey, roast beef and Swiss with cole slaw and Thousand Island dressing on marble rye. It's convenient, but why can't the fare be tasty, too?

    The first Pita Pit to open in town, out by UCF, has already been distinguished by our Best of Orlando 2004 award for Best Late-Night Restaurant. We know it's a fast-growing chain restaurant (www.pitapit.com) that's penetrated the country at an alarming rate, but there just aren't that many places in Orlando to find fast food with fresh vegetables and sizzling meats after the clock strikes 12, much less into the wee hours.

    Now the company has staked out its second claim in town, right in the heart of downtown on Orange Avenue, near the corner of Central Boulevard. The tried-and-true menu is simple and easy on addled brains when it comes to decision-making. There are pitas (don't bother asking for another kind of bread, this is what makes it a low-calorie bonanza), salads, toppings, sauces, snacks and drinks. Start with one of the suggested pitas ranging from $5.50 at the high end (the sauced-up "chicken Caesar," which can be filled out by asking for more veggies) to the $3.50 cheapo (the "garden" pita; it'll take two hands to handle all the greenery). From there, follow along Subway-style, overseeing the addition of toppings (the usuals plus mushrooms, cucumbers, sprouts, pineapple, Swiss and feta). Then comes the pièce de résistance, the tantalizing sauces, such as tzatziki, teriyaki, honey mustard, ranch, Dijon, Caesar and a "secret sauce."

    Once you get the hang of ordering and find those favorite tastes, the customizable options are unlimited. And genuine veggie options go beyond the "garden" to Middle Eastern standbys like falafel, baba ghanoush, hummus and feta. Extra meat ($2) or extra cheese (75 cents) can bump up the protein. Best of all, the downtown Pita Pit takes care of the lunch crew and then remains open until 3 a.m. Monday-Thursday, and until 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The staff reports that there's always someone walking through the door.

    Want interesting sandwiches (yellow curry chicken salad with toasted almonds, red apple and onion), unusual tea (raspberry-rose), killer desserts (lavender-peppercorn creme brulee), and a cheery atmosphere? Find it all here. Open 24 hours Friday and Saturday.

    Hero, hoagie, wedge, bomber, grinder, po' boy, torpedo, submarine, zep -- whatever you call them, the problem with a takeout sandwich is that by the time you get it home, the bread is all soggy and limp.

    So plan on staying when you order any variety at Rhino Subs, the yellow building at 805 Lee Road, and then get comfortable at the umbrella-covered tables. Because fresh from the oven is the best way to appreciate the hot sandwiches that are the high point of this new endeavor from the experienced owner of Straub's Seafood.

    So plan on staying when you order any variety at Rhino Subs, the yellow building at 805 Lee Road, and then get comfortable at the umbrella-covered tables. Because fresh from the oven is the best way to appreciate the hot sandwiches that are the high point of this new endeavor from the experienced owner of Straub's Seafood.

    Step up to the window and order steamy varieties like the "explorer," with smoked turkey, sautéed mushrooms and Swiss cheese, or the "outfitter," with roast beef, ham and turkey. On the cold front, several concoctions are offered, and even though the sign still offers it, ice cream is, alas, no longer available.

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