A taste of the Big Apple right here in OC

Mike and his crew serve up some East Coast munchies from the deli (Keith Cousins)

Keith Cousins

When the cafeteria just gets too boring and you cannot rationalize buying teriyaki chicken for the fourth day in a row, it is time to explore the other culinary options surrounding the Saddleback College campus. Tucked just around the corner from Saddleback lies a gem of a restaurant, where many people are discovering the taste of a true New York deli right here in Mission Viejo.

New York Deli Case opened in 1982 when Brooklyn native Mike Donato moved to Southern California. Prior to moving, Donato owned and operated a deli in Baldwin Harbor, New York and had worked at a deli since he was nine.

Originally, Donato’s goal was to do something different once he relocated.

“I was looking at other options, but when I got here, interest rates were at 18-19 percent, so I opened a deli,” Donato said.

The result is a unique taste of the New York deli culture, along with amazingly fresh sandwiches, pasta dishes, and soups.

Teasing and ridicule from behind the counter is part of the experience. If you want lettuce and tomatoes on your pastrami, they might add it to the sandwich, but be prepared to take flack for it.

“One of the reasons people come here is to get abused,” said Scott, a Long Island native who is a regular at the deli.

The food is the main star at the New York Deli Case, and they offer quality Boar’s Head meats for all of their freshly-made sandwiches. Good bread is key in a great sandwich, and their freshly-baked crispy rolls are incredible. Their menu offers daily breakfast, sandwich, and soup specials and their fresh-cut meats and cheeses are available as well.

If you are looking for a sandwich that puts all the chain stores to shame while at the same time giving you a taste of genuine deli culture, New York Deli Case is the place for you.


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