I love delis that make their own meat. Or, alternately, I like smokehouses that make sandwiches. The local smokehouses/delis that have been around for years and are family owned are really fun places to go to – you can sense the history and craftsmanship of the place. Today Kyung and I went to Willow Glen Meats and Smokehouse, which has long been touted as a local favorite that’s relatively unknown. And it certainly seemed so when we went. The parking lot was not full, there wasn’t anyone sitting and eating inside at lunch today, the shop was very small and housed two glass counters full of packaged meat and large coolers with even more meat like smoked sausages, but people came in and out in a slow but steady stream, and the friendly man behind the counter conversed with them and it was clear that those people were regulars who came in often. There was also a lady behind the counter who was conversing with a family and asking about their sports team, etc. It was really quaint and a nice change from the usual hustle and bustle of a sandwich shop where things seem to run like a production line – fast in and out. Here, it took them a good 10 minutes or more to make our sandwiches, and there wasn’t anyone in line ahead of us. Dedication to quality and a laid back life style!
The sandwiches here are truly superb. I’m not a big fan of the bread they use, but the meat itself has been so clearly well cared for and prepared that the meat alone trumps any dry and crumbly sourdough roll. Kyung ordered the corned beef, and the meat was so tender, savory, and textured the way corned beef should be. I have to say it made the corned beef at Dittmers look shameful. I ordered the smoked turkey on a sourdough roll and the turkey was moist and flavorful and paired very well with the pepper jack cheese I ordered. They’re also very good about not slathering on the mustard so thick it becomes it’s own type of meat. Rather, they spread a thin layer, so you have the flavor without the dripping, soggy bread. Leafy lettuce and tomatoes, along with a side of pickle, completed my meal.
Willow Glen in San Jose is continuing to wow me with neighborhood treasures that you don’t hear about very often, but are truly great finds when you see them. So far in the last year Kyung and I have found lots of places to like in Willow Glen – Taqueria El Abuello, Willow Glen Frozen Yogurt, Bill’s Cafe, and now Willow Glen Meats and Smokehouse. Yum! Can’t wait to come back and try more sandwiches. Too bad they’re not open on Sunday though, that means this will have to be a Saturday only run!