Highlight: Clear and Flexible Menu, Low Prices, Yummy Soup
Lowlight: No Egg Salad
Veggie Note: Everything on this menu that is vegetarian is clearly listed and they will accommodate most requests
I know it's been a while since I last posted, things have been busy, computers have been dying. There are no guarantees that I'll be posting again real soon, but I thought I would drop a note in here about Issac's as I have been frequenting them for lunch lately.
Issac's Restaurant & Deli is a semi-chain establishment with 20 locations throughout Dauphin, Lancaster, Cumberland, York, Berks and Chester counties. The atmosphere is casual and "birdy" (you'll have to go to understand) and the three locations I have been to (Hershey, Harrisburg and Linglestown) have all been clean and bright. The service is usually super friendly, quick and accommodating. The menu is loaded with soups, sandwiches and salads, not just greens but also pasta, potato, fruit salads, etc... The only disappointment, which is not an issue for vegan readers here, is that they have no egg salad. That's something I love to get at a deli style restaurant like this. The sandwiches come in a variety of pretzel rolls, wraps, french breads, and more and they even have a gluten free option (but you have to add 50 cents to the cost). There are only a few sandwiches actually marked vegetarian on the menu (look for little palm tree symbols) but there are a few that could easily be made with substitutions and still be great. They will also always sub out cheese for another vegetable options. They specifically say on their website that "substitutions are not a problem." Their soup menu changes daily, but they publish a soup calendar online and the servers are pretty knowledgeable about what the base of the soup is each day. They always have their pepperjack tomato soup which does have a vegetarian base. For those who eat fish, there are crab cake sandwiches as well.
I had the following today:
- Pickle Bar Assortment - every table gets a bowl of assorted pickled vegetables. It usually has traditional pickle slices and then you'll find different extras every time. I've had pickled cauliflower, celery, fresh cucumbers, red pepper strips, carrots, pepperocinis and maybe others I've forgotten about. Super tasty if you like pickles.
- Pepperjack Tomato Soup - I love this soup. I've had it many times now and it never disappoints me. The tomato soup is not watery or thin, it actually has small bits of pureed tomato in it so it is hearty and filling to eat. It is loaded with pepperjack cheese and has tasty croutons on top. The base is mushroom broth (don't tell your mushroom hating friends - you can't smell or taste that anyway)
- My lunch companion had Wisconsin Smoked Cheddar Soup - Also vegetarian based, this soup had pieces of potato, carrot, onion and red pepper in a creamy soup with a pile of cheddar cheese on top. It needed a little salt, but that's good for those who want to salt to taste anyway.
- Crab Cake Slider - I also veered into my occasional fish eating mode and tried this little sandwich. The pretzel roll is amazing. I wanted to mention that because there is a portabella sandwich on a pretzel roll that I would like to try in the future because the roll is great!!! The crab cakes are okay, in case you are interested.
They do have a dessert menu. I have never partaken since I'm always there for lunch and full pretty quickly.
Just a few other notes:
All sandwiches come with mixed yummy potato chips (gold, blue, sweet, and regular) which you can substitute for baked chips or applesauce according to the menu.
They also have a great selection of bottled organic teas, Dr. Brown's sodas, fresh brewed assorted teas, etc...
Also - pay attention to their posters on the door on the way in. They have some great specials. Before Christmas they had a cup of soup and half sandwich or small salad for only $5 for a whole month. Today, all the soups were just $2.99, even if you ordered a large bowl (we did and took home the extras for another meal later).
Final Thoughts: I love a good deli, especially when I always know there will be a vegetarian soup available. Soup gets me through the winter. I have pointed out to them how unusual it is that they don't have egg salad. The servers always politely agree, but I don't think I will single-handedly get them to add that to their menu. I totally recommend this as a lunch spot for vegetarians and guarantee non-veggies will find something to eat as well. Enjoy!