With bright fluorescent lights above and red, white and blue tile floor below, has potential to be an uplifting space. On a cold winter night, the bright space may be a welcome antidote to the darkness that covers town at 5 p.m. But in these waning days of summer, this space feels like a downer.
Maybe it's the large Sabrett's hotdog case with only two hotdogs rolling in it. Maybe the sodas, sundaes and ices taking center stage make the sandwiches, wraps and salads menu seem inferior or out of place. Or maybe those bright lights, meant to be uplifting, do more to create a sterile space, rather than a comforting, appetite-inducing one.
The dining area includes five tables for four, and two high tables with stools–enough space for customers to eat comfortably. A row of tiny, deep-blue light fixtures hangs over the counter, which displays an array of ice creams and ices.
On my first visit, which was just for ice cream, a board inside listed several sandwich specials. This week, while a sign outside listed a pastrami sandwich, meatball sandwich and a salad as daily specials, no such sign listed them inside.
Other signs inside let customers know that the Italian ice served is from Scara's, the hot dogs are Sabrett's and the coffee is Green Mountain. But nowhere did I see the familiar Boar's Head sign, ubiquitous in so many delis.
As I often do, I asked the woman behind the counter what her favorite meal was here. “Tuna," she responded. “OK, what is your second favorite?” “Turkey.”
Turkey it was, on whole wheat with slices of swiss cheese, crisp shredded iceberg lettuce, a few onions, tomato and mayo.
(I asked the server how this establishment fared during Hurricane Irene. She said Morristown Dairy had to close for four days and throw out all of its food and ice cream, because it had no power.)
She made my sandwich in the back, which probably annoyed the next group of customers who had to wait for her to serve them ice cream.
Regardless of the source, the turkey's edges were dark, to show it had been roasted. But overall, the sandwich, served on a long, soft, whole wheat roll, didn't have much flavor, except perhaps from the slices of red, ripe tomatoes on top. I should have asked for mustard instead of mayo, as it would have added some zip to the sandwich.
To the right of the counter is a large display of chips. I grabbed a bag of Doritos to complement my sandwich. Had I seen the option sooner, I might have instead ordered soup to go with my sandwich. Two choices were available, minestrone and chicken tortilla.
As I ate, I watched a employee order a meatball sub and eat it at one of the tall tables. He works across the street and has a half dozen meal options within a block or two, so the meatball sub might be a good option.
After the sandwich, I returned to the counter for my next course: ice cream. Though the peanut butter cup ice cream looked tempting, I instead ordered a scoop of banana and a scoop of espresso chip in a medium cup, a refreshing end to a late summer meal.
If not now, then perhaps after we turn the clocks back, stop in at this ice cream shop for a scoop or a sundae. But, decide carefully if you are looking for lunch.