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Monday
Apr152019

The Lunch Box: Groucho's Reuben Hits all the Right Marks

The Lunch Box is a weekly feature of the Anderson Observer. The feature is not paid advertising, and the opinions and suggestions belong to the writer of each selection.

One of the highlights of my life is finding a good place for a tasty lunch. Each week The Lunch Box will highlight a meal I have found to be a delicious and consistent go-to choice. This is not a restaurant review, it is a “best of” what to eat for lunch in Anderson County. If you have suggestions for a great plate of food, email me at thelunchbox@andersonobserver.com 

Today’s Lunch Box

Opening the Lid 

Main Course: Reuben Sandwich at Groucho’s Deli Downtown

Nobody really seems sure where the Reuben Sandwich comes from, but there are theories (https://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Sandwiches/ReubenSandwich.htm_, none of which matter much to me. All I know is that piling corned beef/pastrami covered with Swiss cheese on any variety of rye breads, topping it with kraut and lathering it up with Russian/Thousand Island dressing is the best thing any deli can do for me.

So, when Groucho’s Deli opened in downtown Anderson, I was among the first in line to see what they could do with a Reuben. But that first visit resulted in minor disappointment. Groucho’s decided to replace the dressing with German mustard. Mustard? To quote the more famous Groucho Marx: “I have my principles, and if you don’t like them … well, I have others.” I’m willing to make compromises and try new things, but this leap outside orthodoxy lands flat. To be fair, I should have been warned by the listing on the menu, which lists the sandwich as a “Reuben Variation.” (But who reads directions?) At least one lover of Groucho’s Deli from years before the restaurant arrived in Anderson, Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns, said he liked the sandwich with the German mustard. I told him we can still be friends.

A true Reuben lover, I gave Groucho another chance, this time asking them to nix the mustard for the Russian/Thousand Island, which they call “Formula 45.” I’m glad I did. Normally a lover of dark rye bread, I have to say the marbled rye was toasted just right, the excellent pastrami with the melted Swiss delicious and the Kraut was perfect. The “Formula 45,” which comes on the side and which Groucho’s sells in bottles on site, is outstanding. 

Once you understand to ask them to please not put mustard on it, Groucho’s delivers a tasty, consistent Reuben you won’t grown tired of anytime soon. Not sure how many I’ve eaten so far, but enough to put in on my list of favorites at lunchtime.

This exceeds all expectations as a Lunch Box sandwich choice. 

Side Dishes 

This is where I am still searching for the right combination for the Reuben at Groucho’s. So far, I’ve tried the potato salad, a mustard-based concoction with diced potatoes, which, even though I love potato salad, didn’t find it a good match for the Reuben. So I stick with Groucho’s own potato chips, which are basic and good enough for the sidecar.  

One note, Groucho's has the best pickle spears I have ever tasted at a deli. Crisp and delicious.

I do wish there were other options in the chips, such as BBQ, though. Groucho’s offer a variety of Lay’s Baked chips, but I can’t eat baked chips.  

One note, Groucho’s does offer pasta salad, Cole slaw and something called “Fiesta Power Blend,” a mixture of vegetables and spices. But the power blend also contains Kale, which for my own reasons will not eat. Also, having nailed down the Reuben with chips model, I m 

For dessert, grab a cookie. The Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut are all excellent choices for ending the meal.  

Thermos

Groucho’s iced tea, served over nicely crushed ice, is great. As always, I go for a mix of unsweet/sweet,  since, as those who know me will testify, I generally will refill my cup at least half a dozen times during a good lunch. Groucho’s servers do a good job of keeping the cup full.

Closing the Lid 

The cost of the Groucho’s Reuben is $8.99. Add tea for $1.89 and a 99-cent bag of Groucho chips and you’re set for a meal worthy of any lunch box. Visit Groucho's Anderson menu here.

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