My fellow blogger Carol recommended Dallas Mill Deli to me several years ago. Unfortunately, their lunch only hours and my schedule kept colliding. I finally seized an odd day off as my chance to stop in. Walking through the door, I found myself facing a small counter. Off to my left was a second, larger, counter below a menu board. Unsure where I should go, I stepped up to the counter directly in front of me. Seeing the register gave me confidence I was in the correct place, so I started to place my order. The woman behind the counter gently interrupted me to point me towards the counter at the left. Whoops. I did appreciate her kindness though. That’s got to be a mistake that gets made over and over all day long and those are the questions that grate on the soul of the person subjected to them.
Making my way to the correct counter, I placed my order–a BLT on honey wheat bread with light mayo, a side of Strawberry Pretzel Salad, and a drink. The woman at this counter scrawled my order on the top sheet of a paper pad which she handed off to me along with instructions to grab my strawberry pretzel salad out of the cooler on my way back to the first counter. I complied, sliding open the door and selecting a small plastic tub. Paper ticket and tub in hand, I made my way to the register where I paid and was rewarded with a paper drink cup.
I filled my cup at the soda fountain and selected a table where I could soak up some sun. The decor was heavy on Huntsville centered nostalgia–black and white photos of landmarks and people, old street signs and railroad signs, coke-a-cola signs, even an old school parking meter camped out in a corner. Each glossy, laminate table had a mason jar centerpiece wrapped in a cheerfully plaid ribbon and filled with silk flowers and cotton boles.
As the radio played, I realized that despite picking a seat in the sun on a warmish fall day, the restaurant was chilly. A server appeared with a tray calling names, including mine. I raised my hand in a half wave and she handed me my sandwich, wrapped in paper. I was a bit struck by the novelty–no box, no plastic basket, just simple white paper.
When I unwrapped my sandwich (shown above) small pieces of bacon tumbled out. As I picked them up, it occurred to me that there seemed to be an awful lot of these “bits”, so I peeked inside my sandwich. Instead of your standard, 3 or so long pieces of bacon, my sandwich was a pile of pieces ranging from “bacon bits” to a couple of inches long. One bite convinced me this was not a bad thing. The bacon, regardless of size, was crispy, salty, and loaded with flavor and I figure I was getting bonus bacon this way. The lettuce mostly added color but the tomato was fresh and the honey wheat bread I had selected was perfectly toasted. The mayonnaise was a smidge heavy for “light” mayo but still well within my acceptable range. It was absolutely delicious.
I approached my Strawberry Pretzel Salad with some trepidation. This was a dish I knew only by reputation and opening the tub I could see that it contained Jello. On rare occasions Jello makes it onto my “passable” list, but more often that not it’s something I avoid. Closer inspection revealed that real strawberries were embedded in the jello and a tentative taste surprised me with how much I enjoyed this layer. The strawberries had a wonderful texture, giving the jello both body and flavor. The cream cheese based middle layer added a creamy mouth-feel and slight tang. The base featured crushed pretzels and brown sugar in a salty-sweet marriage. Taken altogether, I found it a bit busy. But taken any two layers at a time, it blended nicely.
I greatly enjoyed my meal at Dallas Mill Deli. The service was friendly, the atmosphere relaxing, and the food excellent. There were a couple of small TVs for those who wanted the distraction, but they were tucked away enough that I could easily ignore them. Generous patio seating will beckon me back when the weather warms. I found the jars of Pickled Pink pickles neatly arrayed by the register charming and was even happier to see that a portion of the proceeds go to support a larger cause. I’ll absolutely be back and if you haven’t tried it yet, go and get a BLT for me. (If you can’t make it to their store, keep an eye out for their lunch truck which has been known to make an appearance at the food truck rallies.)
Total for the meal: $10.32 (included one BLT, one Strawberry Pretzel Salad, and one medium drink)