Dallas Mill Deli

13 Feb 2011
Average Cost ($8-$14)
Downtown Huntsville
3 out of 5
Dallas Mill Deli

Melanie’s Take

Shane got to have a snow day Thursday, so he suggested that we give Dallas Mill Deli a try. One of our readers said that their burger might be the best in town; what more motivation did we need? When we entered the deli, it definitely had the feel that the owners were trying their best to look like a Huntsville place to eat. There were several pictures of Huntsville from yesteryear and memorabilia items lining some of the other walls. Although there was a fair amount of stuff on the walls, it didn’t have the overkill of an Applebee’s. Instead, it was the kind of place where you could actually learn a little something about the city just by looking around.

Inside Dallas Mill Deli

There is a short counter where the register is located, and this is where we walked up to place our order. I told the very friendly cashier that I had never been there before and that he should tell me what to get. He suggested their top three sellers: the club, the burger, or the chicken salad. I knew Shane would opt for the burger, so I went for the chicken salad on wheat, add mustard ($4.95). For my side I chose their house-made potato salad ($1.99). He told me that I could grab it from the fridge behind me. In the fridge were several items that you can choose from, including green salads, potato salad, fruit salad, and banana pudding. It occurred to me that all of their sides must be self-serve because the chips were hanging out nearby as well. Armed with our cups for the self-serve fountain, we headed to our table. When our food arrived, it was double-wrapped in parchment paper, a nice deli touch. I have to admit that I was disappointed with my chicken salad. It’s not that it was bad; it’s just that when I’m told it’s a top seller, I expect really good, maybe even great. Instead, it was the shredded mayonnaisey variety that can be found in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. Aside from shredded chicken and mayonnaise, there were some small diced red onions and I suppose a little salt and pepper. Some chopped celery and dry mustard could make a huge difference in this salad. My potato salad looked delicious, with large dices of red potatoes with the skins on, but it was so heavy on the sour cream that it overpowered the other flavors. Not being a huge sour cream fan, I had to pass it on to Shane. Chicken Salad SandwichIt is obvious that the folks at Dallas Mill are customer oriented and put a lot of pride into this place. I don’t think it was an accident that every single employee that I casually passed warmly greeted me. Even though the food wasn’t stellar and the prices were a bit higher than I’d like, their warmth and the phenomenal burger (see Shane’s Take) are enough to keep me coming back.

Shane’s Take

With a snow day and a variety of recommendations, how could we not give Dallas Mill Deli a shot? The store itself is a pleasantly rustic place with touches of old Huntsville, ranging from rusty signs to black and white pictures of our town long before the engineering invasion of the 1950s. The atmosphere reminded me of a Zaxby’s that has been shown the authentic care of a local owner rather than the slapdash money-making touch of a corporation. The signs are real, the photographs are real, and the care is real. But, Dallas Mill isn’t a place that accidentally ended up looking like it does (like a Gibson’s or a Mama Annie’s). Instead, it’s been designed to look nice, and it does. If I were to open a restaurant, I could imagine taking many cues from them.

Inside Dallas Mill Deli

Per the register operator’s recommendation, I ordered a burger all the way and a bag of chips. I understand that a burger isn’t exactly deli food, but it’d been recommended by a few people, so I thought I’d form my own opinion about it. So, the verdict: the burger was excellent. The lettuce, tomato, and onion were cold and fresh, and the bun likewise was tender and slightly steamed. The meat, of course, is where you judge a burger, and it was awesome—although I’d be a monkey’s uncle if it didn’t include Spam in it. It didn’t have a weird gelatin texture or slimy coating, but it had a strong hint of that one-of-a-kind “spiced ham” flavor. Once I got past the thought of “Did they put Spam in this burger?”, I enjoyed the unique flavor. It was among the best burgers I’ve eaten in this town. Dallas Mill Deli gets my recommendation with one caveat: it costs too much. Melanie and I got out for about $15.50, which is too much for what we ate. My food was good, but my burger was about $4.25, which makes the $2-something burgers at Big Spring Diner really seem like a steal. Melanie’s food just cost too much; in particular, her plain-jane almost-$5 chicken salad sandwich was just too expensive. Speaking realistically, although I recommend Dallas Mill, the price would need to drop 20% or more for it to become a regular haunt for us. Until then, we’ll stick to—gasp—Jason’s Deli or some other chain. Burger

Take a few minutes to check out the old signs on the walls. The majority of them surely came from somewhere around town. Closing thoughts:
  • I also noticed a nice quote on the wall above the condiments and napkins and such. I forget what it said, but it was dramatic and cool. Take a minute to check it out.
  • Heaven help us, their logo uses the ubiquitous Papyrus font.
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One Response

  1. Phyllis Young Basham

    Live and learn. Eat and learn. Some places are better and it all depends on our individual taste, I think. Ya’ll are doing a great job.

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