A Tale of Two Delis: Nonni's and The Pumpernickle

Last week, Sharon and I visited Nonni's Deli in North Kansas City for lunch.  This past Wednesday, Sharon, Lynae and I ate lunch at The Pumpernickle Deli, also in North Kansas City.  Both of the restaurants are located along Armour Road, and are actually quite close to each other.
Nonni's Deli is a small restaurant, with a small kitchen.  However, the line at the lunch counter was long, and the food was quite good.  I think it was Nonni herself working the counter, taking our orders.  I was in the middle of the strict phase of the South Beach diet, so much of the menu was off limits to me, and indeed I ended up ordering a sandwich that was against my diet rules anyway.  I ordered the Chicken Parmesan.  Nonni informed me that she made her own red sauce for the sandwich.  Indeed, it was an excellent tasting sandwich.  However, I thought it was a little bit overpriced at $5, for not coming with any side dish like chips, fries or fruit.  There were side salads available to order, but I didn't want to pay extra.  There were other interesting items on the menu, such as Polynesian chicken, stuffed tomatoes and meatloaf.  I forget what Sharon ordered, but I remember that she liked it.  I think it was one of the chicken sandwiches, but I can't remember what flavor.  Some of the lunch crowd appeared to be regular patrons, so it seems like Nonni does o.k. for herself.  There were two personable cooks in the small kitchen.  I was impressed with the operation of the place, and the food.  The decor was lacking, and it was not what I expected on the inside.  However, Nonni is clearly a person that prides herself on her menu and her homemade food, and that is what she is in the business to provide.  My only real qualm was with the prices, which I thought too high.
Like Nonni's, The Pumpernickle Deli also had good food.  There, I chose a pastrami sandwich on an onion bun.  It was tasty.  However, the atmosphere was quite different than at Nonni's.  It appeared as though a Chinese family owned the deli, which is fine, but was unexpected.  The food was not homemade.  Even the bread was store bought.  The meats were not laid out in the deli cooler.  The decor was severely lacking, even worse than Nonni's.  The tables and chairs look like they had been salvaged from an old bowling alley.  Lynae had a Reuben, and once again I forget what Sharon had.  They both liked their sandwiches.  Here, the prices were good, possibly even low.  I was excited to find a coupon in the Entertainment book for a free menu item when another menu item was purchased, but disappointed to learn that this particular Pumpernickle Deli only honored the coupon at 50%, since they were under new ownership.  Sharon and I don't have much luck with that Entertainment book!  Still, Sharon and I ate for under $10, and that is a decent amount of money to spend for a good lunch.
Of the two restaurants, I would probably choose Nonni's to eat at again.  Nonni was extremely personable, while the ladies at The Pumpernickle Deli didn't seem like they were having too much fun.  The food was equally good at both delis, but I like the "homemade" aspect of Nonni's better than the "store bought" aspect of The Pumpernickle.  In essence, Nonni seems to have her heart more into her business.  The atmosphere itself wouldn't be a reason to visit either restaurant, but the food makes up for it at both.  Overall, Nonni's restaurant seemed like more of an authentic deli.


Anonymous said…
this posting is from Sharon--I thought I would share what I had at these restaurants since Eric couldn't remember. I had the grilled chicken sandwich at Nonni's, and it was awesome--very moist chicken with a lot of visible spices. I wish I could make it like that at home! At the Pumpernickle Deli, I had the triple decker club special on wheat. The meats were very fresh, and the bacon crisp. The specials came with a bag of chips, a drink (with refills), and a "side salad", of which you could choose potato salad, fruit, etc. I agree with Eric that I felt more comfortable in Nonni's, but I'd get the food at Pumpernickle again, just as take-out probably. And the prices at Pumpernickle were better, but Nonni's are not outrageous and she had daily specials too.
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