By Tess Malijenovsky
Is it a medical office? Is it a bank? No, it’s Carolina Dog & Deli — Beaufort’s latest incognito deli and bang for the buck. Don’t be fooled by the deli’s missing outdoor sign, Carolina Dog & Deli is neither lacking in taste nor bill satisfaction. The Lunch Bunch was sad to venture this week without our wonderful restaurant reviewer Pamela, but the group was delighted to discover this modest new-town treasure conveniently located across from Beaufort Memorial Hospital.
The owner, Joe Fox, had an equally surprising background in the realm of the delicatessen. He’s worked in several restaurants of the sort including a Schlotzsky’s Deli that locals re-named as “Joe’s” in respect of its charismatic manager. Joe also has a fine dining education from culinary school in Charleston. And, when it comes to his secret, Kim nailed it on the head: “Why re-invent the wheel?”
Joe Fox has carried down his favorite recipes over the years, which have translated into simply delicious sandwiches, hot dogs, salads and soups. Buck, Elizabeth, Kim, Gene, April and I all sampled the chili and potato bacon soup — so steamy, tasty and hardy on a December afternoon that Buck, Kim and April ordered a bowl. This chilly time of year definitely calls for a comforting bowl of Carolina Dog’s hot, creamy potato soup priced at $3.79.
Elizabeth ordered the Shankdaddy Dog for $3, with mustard ketchup, chili, coleslaw, jalapenos and a red onion secret sauce, the secret being a hint of cinnamon, which Joe discovered in New York City.
Buck and I both chose the honey almond chicken salad croissant, priced around $5.50. If it sounds delicious that’s because it is. Served with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and topped with diced bacon and toasted almonds, legitimately some of the best chicken salad I’ve ever had. Best of all — at least for me — all sandwiches come with a pickle spear.
I can’t be sure that Gene’s ranch and bacon turkey club topped the chicken salad croissant, but it looked like it easily could have. His deluxe club piled with shaved turkey breast, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheddar and a creamy ranch dressing hit the spot. All in all, no complaints from the Lunch Bunch contenders.
Best of all, Carolina Dog & Deli has a to-go case of menu items (like their large salads) for the doctors, nurses, patients or other professionals in the area who are on the run or on a lunch break. They also do catering, perfect for any group or business lunch affair.
Last but not least, April, our desert guru, shared the cheesecake while eyeing the banana pudding. We sampled the variety of cookies, which are free on Fridays! And you know what they say, if you give a doctor a cookie …
Carolina Dog & Deli is located on 968 Ribaut Road and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Call 843-379-2122 for catering information or visit carolinadoganddeli.com.