On Monday, Traci and I had a chance to try out Marc and Didi Zudar's Deli Cafe for lunch. We had never been before, but knew that the long-time local restaurant family is known for their cakes and sandwiches. This Zudar's is not to be confused with the since closed Zudar's Deli Cafe location near SoHo, which the couple had previously sold and then allowed the new owner to use the name.
Marc and Didi Zudar's Deli Cafe is located in a small nondescript building on W. Platt St. next to the Publix at Platt and Bayshore and a few doors down from the Irish bar Four Green Fields (best known for its authentic thatched roof). We arrived a little after noon at Zudar's on Monday and the place was crowded with the lunch rush. We were lucky to grab a table for two soon after walking in.
There was a number of items on the menu I wanted to try, several soups and quiches sounded interesting, but I ultimately decided upon ordering a sandwich called "the Meltdown" - roast beef, bacon, provolone, lettuce and tomato on whole wheat. Traci ordered a traditional BLT on white. Our server was quick and relatively friendly considering that she was covering countless tables.
While my sandwich wasn't Wright's Gourmet House caliber (still my favorite local sandwich spot), it was very good. Traci also enjoyed her BLT (notice the bacon, no chicken!). We'll likely drop into Zudar's again sometime as I want to try out their freshly made soups and their cakes look killer. Two of the tables around us each ordered a slice of the coconut cream pie to share. These were the kind of big slices that look like they would put you to sleep after returning to the office.
My only gripe with my sandwich was that Zudar's uses shredded lettuce which I'm not a fan of. Also, while my sandwich was a good size, and for the price (about $16 for the two of us with drinks) it was a fair deal, it wasn't particularly "overstuffed" either. Finally, while the sandwich is what really matters, the included bag of plain chips was small and the pickle slice was even smaller.
Other local delis that we like for sandwiches, besides the fore mentioned Wright's, includes Castellano & Pizzo, Mazarro's Italian Market, Schiller's German Delicatessen, and Interbay Meat Market. We still plan to give Mott & Hester Deli a try one of these days. We've also done Pane Rustica before for dinner, but not lunch. What good local sandwich places am I forgetting?
In case you were wondering, there aren't any recent health inspection reports on Zudar's available.
Bottom-line: Zudar's may not have the best sandwiches in town (I still think Wright's is top of the heap, although I know some of you think Wright's is overrated), but you could definitely do a lot worse. A good lunch choice if you work in or around downtown Tampa.