Blues City Deli - My Favorite Sandwich Shop In St. Louis

4.95 stars Review Philosophy

Blues City Deli Takeaway. Happiness is family, friends, and Blues City Deli sandwiches. Hot Italian is my go-to. The best sandwich in St. Louis. Get anything with roast beef. $10.50 before tax and tip. Super fast service. Line out the door only means 15 minutes. Park on a side street. Limited seating. Get there before 11:30 a.m. for no line.

Every staff member is perky, talkative, and helpful. People come from all around Saint Louis. Everything great about St. Louis in one deli.

Update: After visiting another 15 sandwich shops in the past three months, I came back to Blues City Deli and it somehow managed to beat my expectations.


Table Of Contents: Experience | Food | Atmosphere | Receipt


Blues City Deli Awesome Bite

Details

  • 2438 McNair Ave, St. Louis, MO 63104
  • (314) 773-8225
  • Website
  • Yelp - 4.8 stars - 1,169 ratings
  • TripAdvisor - 5.0 stars - 377 ratings
  • Google Maps - 4.9 stars - 2,329 ratings

Hours

DayHours
Monday10:30 AM–3 PM
Tuesday10:30 AM–3 PM
Wednesday10:30 AM–3 PM
Thursday10:30 AM–3 PM
Friday10:30 AM–3 PM
Saturday10:30 AM–3 PM
SundayClosed

Map


Blues City Deli Experience Summary

The Blues City Deli currently ranks as my favorite sandwich shop in St. Louis.

The Italian Beef with all the peppers (both hot and sweet) ranks in the top three sandwiches I've ever had. It falls short of the Italian Hoagie from White's Deli in New Jersey and a pastrami sandwich from Katz's Deli in NYC.

But it plays with the big boys in the sandwich space.

Blues City Deli front

I've also had the original roast beef at Blues City, and my buddy had the Mike's - roast beef with bacon and cheddar. I didn't like the original roast beef as much. I'm not typically a roast beef guy, but the additional flavor in the hot Italian beef puts it over the edge for me.

Having now gone around Saint Louis and sampled the best places' best offerings, Blues City is just a cut above. The taste is outrageous, with every bite making you wish that the party in your mouth never ends. It's just pure, unbridled joy to eat this sandwich.

Blues City Deli italian length

The sandwich weighs in on the smaller size at 13.7 oz total with only 5.2 oz of meat, but it punches so far above its weight class it isn't fair. And at only $10.50, these sandwiches are a steal.

The first two times I went, the line was out the door, but don't let that discourage you. Their service is so fast and optimized that a line of 10 people out will only take ~15 minutes to get your sandwich.

Blues City Deli menu

The service overall is top-notch, and the feeling in the Deli takes you back to a simpler time. From the moment you walk in the door, it feels like you're about to have a good time. It's like being invited into your best friend's house if your best friend made one of the most flavorful beef sandwiches you've ever had.

Seating is limited, so prepare to eat in your car or wait a minute for a table to open up after you get your sandwich. When seating is open outside, they'll bring your sandwich to you after ordering, and finding a table becomes much easier.

Blues City Deli Stop Sign

Eventually, I'll get their version of an Italian sub so I can properly compare it against other sandwiches, but I just went back and couldn't make myself get something different.

Honestly, no matter what you get, you'll leave happier than when you came.

The Food At Blues City Deli

Blues City Deli bite

When you wake up knowing you're going to Blues City Deli for lunch, everything is a little brighter. Your coffee tastes better in the morning, and you're beaming with anticipation. All that because…

The Hot Italian Beef sandwich at Blues City is happiness in a hoagie.

When you open it, the oil from the meat and the spicy giardiniera greet you like a happy puppy. After you unwrap it, the hoagie calls to you with a smell of roast beast and spicy peppers.

Blues City Deli bite two

The first bite hits you with all the flavor:

Just close your eyes and take it in.

Yummm…

Ok, we're back.

Blues City Deli italian

After weighing sandwiches across town, the portion size is on the lower end. Even though the meat overflows from the bun, it weighs only 13.7oz with 5.2 oz of meat. There's not quite as much meat as Carl's, and it's definitely no Gioia's, but there's plenty for your taste buds.

To say this is a welterweight sandwich beating heavyweights would be apt.

Blues City Deli Weight

The bread really only acts as a bit of crunch and a container for the meat and oil. Unlike something from Union Loafers, the bread won't win any awards by itself, but it does its job admirably. My father-in-law pointed out that it does a great job of absorbing the meat juice without getting soggy - a two way balancing out playing out better than a professional gymnast.

Blues City Deli Hot Italian Weight Blues City Deli size

The giardiniera has a spice level 3.5, so your lips will hurt but not be on fire. It takes a second for the heat to hit you, but it adds to the experience when it does. I have not had a ton of giardiniera, and it's a bit of an acquired taste, but I've thoroughly enjoyed it the half dozen times I've had it.

I got the Original roast beef sandwich the previous time I went, and it was two days before I started this site. That sandwich was the final impetus to start writing, as I thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted to share my experience. It's not quite as good as the Hot Italian in my book, but it's the best roast beef sandwich I've had.

Blues City Deli counter

While I only ever had Arby's for roast beef comparison before this blog, I've now had roast beef from Adriana's, Eovaldi's, and

Fozzies, and they aren't playing the same game.

At the end of the day, Blue City Deli is one of my favorite restaurants in St. Louis. To top it off,

It's only $13.50, all in with tax and tip on a $10.50 base sandwiched.

While I'm no longer baffled about how Subway continues to serve sandwiches, it's clear that Blues City Deli is just head and shoulders above anything else in the area. I'd recommend making it a quarterly excursion, no matter where you live in the area.

Blues City Deli Atmosphere And Miscellaneous

Blues City Deli decorations

The atmosphere at Blue City Deli is almost as much fun as the sandwich. The place oozes with St. Louis memorabilia and flare--the feeling when you walk in hits like a Midwest version of an NYC deli.

Famous people on the wall, the St. Louis flag in the background, and incredibly helpful and welcoming service.

Blues City Deli pictures

It's family owned and run since 2004, with all the staff being "like family, or at least Sicilian," as my waitress told me with a smile. The jolly fellow behind the counter told me they easily pump out over 700 sandwiches a day, and today was one of those days. But even at the peak serving time of 12:15 on a Thursday, he was helpful and engaged.

Blues City Deli soda

Sitting there in sandwich bliss, I noticed the wide swath of the city cycling through the doors for over 45 minutes. There were construction workers, policemen, office workers, a person on an interview lunch, an elderly couple by the window, forty other people, and me, a guy with a scale and ruler in the middle of the store. These sandwiches bring the city together.

Blues City Deli store front

Most dear to my econ heart is their use of optimal queue theory - the line moves as fast as humanly possible. They have one line that feeds into two registers. The two registers send the order back to the kitchen. They give you a number. You wait five minutes, and the kitchen brings it out by the waiting bar. Boom, bam, thank you, ma'am.

Blues City Deli inside

When I came back today around Noon, we were ten people deep outside the store, and the line took 16 minutes and 58 seconds from the time we got there to the time of the first bite. We ordered at the 7:22 mark. Serving 20-30 people in less than 20 minutes is a fantastic feat for a sandwich shop. A similar length line at Vivola would be 30 minutes plus.

Blues City Deli time to sandwich

I usually try to get there before 11:30 a.m., and there hasn't been a line the last three times at that time of day.

Parking At Blues City Deli

Blues City Deli front seating

Parking hasn't been an issue on the street at any time - 1030, 1130, 1200. Plenty of parking within a block.

Blues City Deli Receipt

Blues City Deli receipt Blues City Deli selfie

Sandwich Size Comparisons

PlaceSandwich ScorePriceTypeOverall WeightMeat WeightLength
Blues City Deli 9.7 $10.50 Roast Beef 13.7 5.2 8.0
Carl's Deli 9.3 $11.95 Pastrami 14.3 9.6 6.0
Legrand's Market & Catering 8.8 $10.49 Special 11.4 7.6 8.0
Parker's Table 8.7 $13.00 Special 9.0 4.8 5.0
Nomad 8.3 $14.00 Pastrami 13.6 7.6 6.0
Gioia's Deli 7.8 $12.00 Italian 24.0 8.0 10.0
Eovaldi's Deli 7.2 $11.95 Italian 27.8 13.8 9.0
Mom's Deli 7.1 $9.50 Special 16.9 9.8 9.0
Lion's Choice 7.0 $7.89 Roast Beef 7.7 5.4 4.0
Adriana's on the Hill 6.9 $13.50 Roast Beef 17.0 6.8 12.0
Snarf's Sandwiches 6.4 $13.50 Italian 24.4 5.6 12.0
Pickles Deli 4.1 $10.99 Special 8.3 3.6 6.0
Fozzie's Sandwich Emporium 2.1 $12.95 Roast Beef 15.0 6.8 6.0
Protzel's Deli 1.9 $13.00 Pastrami 12.8 6.8 6.0

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