How many lunch options are there in downtown Boise? When lunchtime comes around for those of us who work downtown, the feeling that there is usually not enough.
However, when it comes time to do a restaurant review, it's possible that there are too many. Too many for some of us who are easily confused, anyway.
Without double-checking where I was supposed to go, my wife and I wound up at the wrong downtown lunch spot. Actually, there was nothing wrong with the place ... except it wasn't the Deli on the Grove which is where I was supposed to test the fare.
Fortunately, lunchtime comes around once a day, every day, in Boise. That meant that I could correct my mistake within 24 hours. So I rationalized that I could use the other downtown lunch spot as a point of comparison for the dining experience at the Deli on the Grove.
Reminding myself that it was located at the corner of Capitol and Main, I headed off for lunch again the next day. To get to the Deli on the Grove, you need to walk into the U.S. Bank building. Once inside, you'll find a small place off to the side of the lobby--almost literally a hole in the wall--under a Deli on the Grove sign.
Comparing the ambience of the two lunch spots is somewhat unfair. The other place was a sit-down restaurant while the Deli on the Grove is a small place--small with a capital "S." For service, there's just one person to help. For dine-in seating, there are only four stools. It's the kind of place that specializes in take-out sandwiches in Styrofoam containers.
The menu comparison was more equal. The Deli's sandwich menu was surprisingly extensive for a place so small. They had nearly 20 sandwiches to choose from: traditional sandwiches, specialty sandwiches and wraps and they offer packaged salads. However, by early May, "soup season" is over. Unlike the other place, they didn't offer a breakfast menu, either. On the other hand, the other place didn't have the Deli's "fresh from the oven" bread in either sourdough or whole wheat, It would be hard to find a fresher slice of bread for lunch fare.
A comparison of service levels isn't really fair, either. The Deli is designed to be self-service while the other place was full-service. It wasn't a problem while I was there, but I imagine that the line can back up with just one person taking orders. Small often equals friendly, and that was the case here. I'm also pretty sure the Deli on the Grove's proprietor greets all his regular customers by name.
The Deli on the Grove definitely had the better bread. It's too bad there wasn't a soup option when I was there. When the weather's colder, I can imagine that as a lunch staple for people working in the building.
If you've walked past the bank on your way to lunch, you've walked past the Deli on the Grove. You might want to step inside and see what you've missed. You'll find one more downtown lunchtime option.
They may not be as big or as flashy as some, but they definitely have fresher bread and if you're a fan of sandwiches featuring thick slices of fresh, "homemade" bread, try the Deli on the Grove.
--Don't ask Curt Nichols where to go for lunch; he's easily confused.