Mom's Deli Experience Summary
I walked into Mom's Deli on an overcast January Wednesday with rather low expectations. I haven't been blown away with a sandwich since Nomad's pastrami, so it's been six weeks of pedestrian performers.
While Mom's unfortunately keeps the streak alive, I overall enjoyed my experience.
A solid 7.1/10 sandwich carried by probably the best Thousand Island dressing I've had or at least remember vividly. Delightfully tangy, with a bit of sweetness, you could throw it only sandwich, and you'd be in the mid-6s already. The bread and toppings stood out, which meant the meat brought the sandwich down.
More flavorful or impactful meat would be the answer to the sandwich here.
That all said, I really enjoyed the Thousand Island dressing. I wouldn't make the nearly twenty minute trek again, but worth this shot. A 7.1 is a great local deli.
As another data point, my buddy got the Italian Salami, and he spoke much, much more highly of the salsiccia at Adrianna's.
The deli itself felt like a mom-and-pop kind of place with salt-of-the-earth regulars. There were construction workers and police officers grabbing a sandwich to go constantly while we were there.
The service was fast and friendly. The cashier had been working there for over five years and said the lines are out the door starting at 9:30 am during the summer. She said they pump out over 750 sandwiches per day in the summer, which seemed literally insane to me.
It was not crowded at all at noon on a random January Wednesday.
There's limited seating outside and no seating inside. You're limited to street parking, but it wasn't an issue at all today.
The Food At Mom's Deli
I walked into Mom's armed with a rec for the gravy and Yelp telling me that the Thousand Island dressing was the talk of the class.
I forgot about the gravy rec, so it was Thousand Islands today.
When I mumbled that out loud to my bud about the dressing, the sandwich ladies wholeheartedly agreed with the Thousand Island rec, so I went with that and got a Mom's Special. I substituted mozzarella for the provel because it should be illegal to put provel on literally anything.
Interestingly, they preroll the meat and cheese in the Mom's Special, so she had to make it from scratch and upped the price $.50. She seemed surprised by the request, so it took her a second to accept my cheat code. I can't be the only one in St. Louis who puts the same vigor into stopping my kids from eating provel that regular parents put into preventing their kids from doing drugs.
There wasn't anyone else in the sandwich shop at this point, so the time to sandwich felt like two minutes. They had two women making sandwiches and one at the register, about as efficient as you'd expect for non-Subway sandwich shops.
The Mom's Special looks beautiful, my sandwich lady did an excellent job of layering the meat, cheese, and toppings without busting out of the side of the bread. The sauce on top and bottom holds everything in place and creates an optimally mouth-sized bite with just a bit of Thousand Islands squeezing out the side. It's a great mouth feel where you're gonna need a napkin, but you're not getting globs of mayo on your pants - the fun part of eating a sandwich.
It most reminded me of LeGrand's Legend but without the meat quality.
And that's where the review takes a mean but objective respite. Coming in at 7.1/10, the Thousand Island dressing and, to a lesser extent, bread and toppings carried the sandwich. It's never great when the sauce brings it to a 6.5 base, and the rest only adds .6 points. Using LeGrand's as the apt comparison here, if you took that meat and added it to this sandwich, you'd be in that same 8.0-8.4 range.
The meat and cheese just didn't add anything to the experience besides rounding out the sauce. I went searching for adjectives while I was eating it and came out with nothing. Not bad, not good, just basically nothing.
But man, the sauce. You could slather the Thousand Island on a roll from Union Loafers, and you'd have lunch. The tanginess and sweetness came through in literally every bite from start to finish.
The Thousand Island's dressing is so good that licking it off your fingers is socially acceptable.
In terms of size and price, Mom's is on the cheaper side overall and per oz. The sandwich cost $9.5, but only because I customized it a bit - it will run you $9 regularly. It's actually cheaper than Subway and the cheapest sandwich in St. Louis. It's $1 cheaper than LeGrand's, which makes it the cheapest by a pretty wide margin.
Coming at the appropriate advertised 9" and weighing 16.9 oz, you'll eat the whole thing in one sitting. The meat weighed in at 9.8 oz, which is solidly average in the non-speciality-meat category.
All in all, it'll make it onto the bottom half of my list of the best sandwiches in St. Louis.
My buddy on this trip got the Italian Salami, and he seemed less than enthused about it. He gave it a 6.1 and I could tell it didn't nearly live up to his experience at both Vivola Express and Adrianna's.
Mom's Deli Atmosphere And Miscellaneous
Mom's Deli is the epitome of a no-frills, mom-and-pop deli.
As you walk in, you immediately see into the storage room in the back through a set of makeshift curtains. Taking a look to your right, you notice the walls are bare wood, and besides some random tchotchkes, it's just random snacks and drinks. Looking back to your left, the deli displays are half full of meat cannolis, and general stocking is done on what feels more like a whim than science. The whole time it smells faintly like deli meat but gets stronger the closer to the counter you get. The three women manning the sandwich counter, who were just half on their phones, look up to greet you. And while the lighting isn't quite bright enough, you finally reach the menu on the wall in old-school deli letters.
In other words, the perfect environment for sandwiches.
The service was super friendly and fast. The cashier was more than willing to talk to me about random sandwich trivia and such. She said they do 750 sandwiches a day in the summer, which sounded insane. Today, they were definitely not pumping out that many. The most I've heard is 250 a day at Vivola, but maybe Mom's relatively southern location is an advantage.
I got my sandwich and paid in under five minutes.
They had no inside seating and five picnic tables outside. Luckily, the cold snap was over, and we could eat outside on the porch.
Parking At Mom's Deli
Parking was "limited" to street parking without a dedicated lot. If it really does get as packed as the cashier said it does in the summer, then you might be walking a bit. I was able to snag a spot right out front, but it would only have been a 30-second walk if I hadn't.
Mom's Deli Receipt
Sandwich Size Comparisons