The Twin Cities suffers from a dearth of delis. There are a few places in the metro where you can get a decent sandwich, but they’re few and far between (and no, Subway and Jimmy John’s don’t count).
Andy Lilja and Stephanie Kochlin are here to fill that void. The pair recently opened The Original on 42nd, a small slip of a space that is serving up some soul-satisfying sandwiches.
Situated at the corner of Cedar Ave. and 42nd St., the shop is the type of place you wish you had in your neighborhood, where you can stop by on your way home to grab a roast beef sandwich for dinner, or swing by on the weekend for all the fixings for a very tasty picnic.
If you ever enjoyed breakfast at the building’s former occupant, Colossal Café, you know the space is, to put it politely, cozy. There are six tables-for-two wedged into the dining area that is for all intents and purposes a communal seating arrangement. The lovely sidewalk patio area doubles the seating capacity.
The kitchen is also a tight squeeze, with every inch put to work for cooking and storage. But Lilja, who has cooked at Heartland, and more recently, Ox Cart Ale House, and Kochlin who also worked at Heartland and ran the kitchen at Pig & Fiddle, don’t let the diminutive digs rein in their creativity.
The sandwich descriptions, really just a list of ingredients, don’t do justice to the finished products, which are much more than the sum of their parts.
The Sofrito Turkey PLT, for example, brings together turkey, pancetta, and chive mayonnaise on sourdough. Sounds basic, but the combination of creamy, salty and savory hits all the right taste buds.
The cold roast beef goes old school, with rare roast beef, horseradish, and Swiss on an onion roll. The muffuletta is a meat lover’s dream, with salami, smoked ham and mortadella napped with a lively red pepper olive salad.
The menu also offers soups and salads, as well as a few sides to round out your meal. And don’t leave without dessert. Try the salted fudge brownie or Sam’s seven layer slammers.
Drinks are non-alcoholic, but there are some interesting options like cold-press Truestone coffee, St. Paul Switchel, and Mexican Coke.
One very important final note: The shop does not accept credit cards, but in a quaint throwback, they will take your personal check. Should you come unprepared, there is an ATM shoehorned into a corner of the dining room.
The Original on 42nd
1839 E 42nd St, Minneapolis
Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday