Reuben sandwich with dill pickle

Review – Tracy’s Deli in Chapel Hill

Update: Tracy’s New York Deli has closed.

Sign and windows outside of Tracys Deli in Chapel Hill
Outside of Tracy’s Deli in Chapel Hill

I have tried to go to Tracy’s Deli in Chapel Hill for about a year, but every time I got to the location, it was closed. If you work outside of the Chapel Hill area, it is hard to get to this place when it’s open. The only time you could possibly eat here is on a Saturday morning. Tracy’s Deli was open for a time for dinner, and I tried to come at that time too, but it was closed by 5 p.m. Who ever thought that dinner was served before 5? They have stopped advertising this, and are now open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Ordering at the counter
Ordering at the counter

Luckily, my husband and I took the week off between Christmas and New Years and I was finally able to try this place out. I was really thrilled to finally get to try it as I’ve missed having deli food. I used to go to Streets Deli, but they closed about a year ago. Tracy’s Deli is not very big. There’s a counter where you order your food and a very small deli display of Boar’s Head meats and cheeses.

Two cooks at the grill
Cooking up our sandwiches.

Tracy’s advertises itself as a New York style deli. It has some of the classic Jewish deli sandwiches, but also has paninis, hamburgers and hot dogs. I love Jewish food, so I ordered a cup of matzo ball soup and got the Manhattan, a pastrami sandwich with Swiss cheese on toasted rye bread. Normally the sandwich comes with a multi-grain mustard, but I like mayonnaise instead.

Matzo Ball Soup with carrots, celery and chicken
Great Matzo Ball soup.

The matzo ball soup was excellent. It was made country style, so it had carrots, celery, and nice chunks of white chicken meat in it, in addition to a nice sized matzo ball. This is the perfect thing to eat on a cold day, or when you are not feeling too well. I have always considered matzo ball soup as Jewish medicine!

Pastrami with pickle and Fritos on a plate
Manhattan (pastrami) sandwich.

The sandwich was also quite good. It liked the way it was warmed up on the grill, making the bread, which comes from Guglhupf  Bakery in Durham, nice and crunchy. The meat was also quite tasty, with a little kick from the pepper and it was on the lean side – just the way I like it. It has a good portion of meat, but was not loaded like some of the New York delis I have been to in the past. I’d say the sandwich was decent for North Carolina.

Reuben sandwich with dill pickle
Reuben sandwich.

My husband had the Reuben, which is a corned beef sandwich with sauerkraut in it. It was also grilled in the rye bread and tasted great! The sourness of the sauerkraut and crunchiness of the sauerkraut really helps with the flavor of this sandwich. Again, they could have added a bit more meat, or made the sandwich about a dollar less to make this a deal in my mind.

I guess I need to come back sometime to try the breakfast. I’m assuming they serve some great bagels, and the chocolate chip pancakes advertised on their website may be good. I do know they serve some knishes that they fly in from Brooklyn, which sound promising.

Tracy’s Deli is located on Elliott Road, near Phydeaux and is open, at least for now, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday – Saturday. You can like their Facebook page or follow their Twitter feed to get updates on specials.

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