Downtown St. Paul office workers, take note: The day after Labor Day (TODAY!) will (knock on wood!) see the opening of the Real Meal Deli in the First National Bank building (332 Minnesota St., between 4th and 5th Streets, and Robert St.; realmealdeli.com).
I talked to the owner, Jason Gray, and got a little preview. They’ll serve only breakfast and lunch. Breakfast will feature both indulgent items (caramel pecan rolls, homemade, brioche-enclosed riffs on the egg sandwiches, not unlike from-scratch Egg McMuffins) and healthy ones, like fresh fruit granola or oatmeal. At lunch, they’ll have from-scratch soups like navy bean with bacon and ham or three-bean vegetarian chili, as well as sandwiches and blue plate specials like a roast turkey plate with mashed potatoes, sage dressing, gravy, and cranberries, a barbecued pork loin plate with candied yams, or a vegetarian spinach and goat cheese lasagna.
Gray tells me the place’s claim-to-fame will be their on-site roasted chicken breasts and sirloin steaks, which will be the basis of their sandwiches, like the sirloin sandwich (which I want to call roast beef) with lemon aioli. Sounds good to me; there are never enough good sandwiches in this state, for my taste.
Gray also tells me it will be all counter service, though there are 42 seats at tables for your dine-in convenience, and, while this probably won’t be up right away, within a few weeks you’ll actually be able to order and pay for lunch via the restaurant’s website and simply jog down with your claim number and grab your food from the pick-up area, thus avoiding any line.
“People’s lunch hours are valuable,” Gray told me. “Why waste time standing in a line?”
Hallelujah, brother; As a downtown office worker myself, I second that emotion. Sadly, the office I work out of is in downtown Minneapolis: Color me jealous, St. Paul!
Real Meal Deli
332 Minnesota St.