For any fans of the Travel Channel show Man VS Food, you may have seen the Columbus (Ohio) episode, and hearing about the Ohio Deli and it's famous Dagwood sandwich.
Named for Dagwood Bumstead, from the comic strip Blondie, this 2 1/2 pound sandwich contains ham, turkey, roast beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, both American and Swiss cheese served on a giant bun with a coating of garlic mayo. The Ohio Deli has what is known as "the Dagwood Challenge" where you need to eat this behemoth of a sandwich, the fries, and your pickle spear in thirty minutes or less. The current record is 3 minutes and 12 seconds. What do you get if you win? Your picture on the wall and a shirt stating that you defeated the Dagwood. If you lose you always have the option of to get the "The Dagwood Kicked My *%#@" shirt. The urge to try this sandwich (not the challenge) was incredible.
Before heading out for the evening I did some light internet snooping about the restaurant and the sandwich itself. Reviews I saw here made me wonder exactly what I would end up with. What stood out the most were the remarks about the slow service and someone referring to it as "the dirty deli."
The restaurant itself definitely falls under the category of "hole in the wall" (and I don't mean this as any sort of slur), had I not been looking for it I may not have paid much attention and even then, had I seen it I may not have given it a second look.
The inside is fairly small but I was happy with that, I'd been worried that it being a Friday night I may have a problem with seating or a wait. The wait was very short to be seated and once seated I made sure to see if my table was sticky as one reviewer said theirs was (it wasn't.)
We were given three menus a lunch, a dinner, and a special menu. I was really there for a good sandwich so the dinner menu wasn't really what I wanted and nothing of the special menu jumped out at me except the all-you-can-eat fried fish.
I ended up choosing not to order the Dagwood with the intention of coming back with my father when next he visits and splitting it with him.
Three sections of the menu (the perfect match, 11 reasons you cannot forget us, and deli originals) all seemed so tasty that I couldn't decide what to order if the Dagwood was not to be. Finally I chose the Manhattan (hot pastrami, corned beef, Swiss cheese, served on deli rye with lettuce & tomato) and my husband chose a hot open faced sandwich (the countryside: hot veal cutlet served open face on white bread & covered with beef gravy.)
To drink we ordered from the section called "Ohio Deli Bottled Soda", I ordered the "Sour Apple Soda" and my husband ordered the "Blue Raspberry Soda." As you can see when they came it turns out it should probably say "Wild Apple Soda." The drinks were fine, his tasted like a blue freeze-e pop and mine was more sweet than sour.
The service was indeed slow (but still polite) so it took a moment until we learned they were out of veal - so my husband had the roast beef open faced sandwich instead.
Here is a photo of me right after receiving my sammich - little did I know this face would be how I felt in a short while. The sandwich was on the lower scale of okay, it was definitely nothing I would feel a craving for that warranted an immediate trip to the Ohio Deli. I was only able to eat one of the flakey fries, after that I had no desire to try another.
Mediocre food or not I was enjoying spending time with my husband. Then from behind me the little girl (I believe is visible in the picture) saw a black man walking up to come in and said "look daddy, n*****s!" I stopped. I half-turned. I answered my husbands question when he saw the look on my face. And lost my appetite. I put down what remained of my Manhattan. We paid. And left.
Now I realize this was not the restaurants fault but that of the parent and grandparents who were there with her said nothing and kept on eating.
If I had to give this restaurant a star rating I'd give it 2 to 2 1/2 stars, meaning I've had much better but I've had much worse.
For the rest of the pictures from dinner you can see them here in the Om Nom Nom Studios Flickr stream.
If you're interested in a home-made Dagwood of your own there is a recipe here. And if you just want to look as some food porn of someone's home-made Dagwood you can see one here on Scanwiches.