Never dismiss small, inconspicuous eateries — because they might just surprise you.
I recently stumbled onto Gretchen’s Place in the Canyon Park area of Bothell while looking for restaurants close to where an old friend lives.
It felt like the epitome of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The deli, which opened seven years ago, is sandwiched between a row of office buildings. There isn’t a big sign out front announcing its presence.
But when you step inside and smell what’s cooking, you know you’ve found the right place.
The deli offers hot and cold sandwiches, salads, soups and breakfast. It was a great place to grab a quick bite for lunch and catch up with Austin, a friend from high school and college, even if it was a little farther south than I usually venture.
I envy the people who work nearby.
We stuck with the hot sandwiches menu. There’s a good selection to choose from — caprese, French dip, Reuben, pulled pork barbecue and Italian. All hot sandwiches are just $6.59.
I ordered an Italian with pepperoni, salami and Italian ham on a French roll with tomatoes, shredded lettuce, olives, pepperoncini and provolone cheese. I also got one of the daily soup specials, basil tomato bisque, for $3.99.
Austin ordered a Reuben sandwich with pastrami, Swiss cheese, red cabbage sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on onion rye bread.
We were talking about strategies for our upcoming fantasy football season when I took my first bite. Austin, who had already taken a bite, noticed my facial expression.
“Pretty good, isn’t it?”
Indeed it was.
The Italian came with a subtle smoky taste — probably from the pepperoni and salami — which played off the acidity of the tomatoes and olives. The French bread, made by The Essential Baking Co. in Seattle, also was great. And the tomato bisque was rich, tangy and creamy.
Austin was also a fan of his Reuben.
“The overall flavor was good,” he said. “The meat was actually very delicious. It had the right texture. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. The spices they used really stood out.”
Next time, I’ll have to try one of their cold sandwiches, which include roast beef, ham, turkey, tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, pastrami and veggie, all for just $6.29.
I won’t say Gretchen’s Place is defying the boundaries of sandwich-making with its food. That would be difficult for any restaurant to accomplish.
But I know this much — their sandwiches are delicious.
Evan Thompson: 360-544-2999, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @evanthompson_1.
Where: 22522 29th Drive SE, No. 106, Bothell
When: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
More: 425-402-1786 or www.gretchensplace.com