Cecil’s Deli


As you may or may not know from reading this blog, my husband just loves Reuben sandwiches. To be quite honest, I never had one until after I met him! It just wasn’t one of those things I grew up eating nor did I ever order it in a restaurant. I’m still not quite in love with them as he is {it has to be a very special one!}; but I was willing to try what is often touted as one of the best Reubens in Minnesota.

So just after the new year, on a not-yet-too-cold Saturday, we headed over to Cecil’s Deli in St. Paul.

We did have to wait in a short line to get seated in the small diner-like area in the back of the deli.


Boy was it busy! It’s such a popular little dive where you will find people of all ages and walks of life. I dug it.

That was, until a woman was seated beside me.

Actually, we were seated in the  middle of the “cozy” {read: tables tightly placed together} restaurant and her back was to me. Suddenly, as she removed her jacket, an overwhelming scent wafted our way. It was patchouli-like, but oh-so strong. I had to contain myself from sneezing to many times in a row. My eyes were watering. It was overpowering and it made the rest of our experience at Cecil’s miserable because we could concentrate on nothing else.

Still, we tried hard to focus on the meal as much as possible because we were there to enjoy some sandwiches!

Of course, Rob ordered the traditional Reuben that they are famous for and I knew he’d allow me a bite. And if this deli is as good as they say it is, the Roast Beef Sandwich Reuben should be just as good. Besides, I just love horseradish.

·ROAST BEEF REUBEN· Thin sliced Roast Beef, our own horseradish sauce, sauerkraut, and Swiss, on fresh baked Russian Rye.

Thin sliced Roast Beef, Cecil’s horseradish sauce, sauerkraut and Swiss on fresh baked Russian Rye.

Dear God does that bread look simple – but it’s the best rye bread I’ve ever had! In my opinion, the sandwich had way too much sauerkraut that overpowered the sandwich. I could barely taste the meat. Once I took off half the ‘kraut, everything was much better, though the horseradish sauce was still pretty mild.

·REUBEN· Thin sliced Chicago corned beef, aged swiss cheese, hot sauerkraut, and our reuben sauce on grilled dark rye. This is the one we're famous for!

Thin sliced Chicago corned beef, aged swiss cheese, hot sauerkraut and Cecil’s reuben sauce on grilled dark rye

Just look at that corned beef! Some of the best I’ve had. Although Rob agreed that there was way too much sauerkraut on his sandwich, too. Maybe that’s traditional or maybe it’s just our personal preferences. Once half the ‘kraut was removed, we could taste that aged Swiss cheese, too!

Rob also ordered an Egg Cream to sip on, which he finished nearly before our plates arrived. Breakfast seemed to be a popular choice, even at 12:30 pm. And the line was now almost out the door.

Upon exiting, the deli was crazy busy. I would have liked to have perused their offerings and maybe purchase some of that corned beef or rye bread; but there just wasn’t time before we went to see The Whales at the Imax Theater.

But we do know that the next time we go to Cecil’s Deli, it’ll be for carry-out. We know we could have been seated next to a woman wearing an overabundance of musk, perfume or what-not anywhere; but since one needs his/her sense of smell to truly enjoy what they are eating, it ruined our experience.

Have you ever had a miserable experience at a restaurant that was in no way the restaurant’s fault?

Did you return?

Where can one find the best Reuben you’ve ever had?



2 responses »

  1. I’ve been going to Cecil’s for years, most often for a reuben! I love kraut so it has never been an issue. The turkey reuben is also quite good,as is the veggie reuben! Don’t miss getting a Hammentaschen at the bakery deli on the way out…a variety of flavors to choose!!

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