d'Bronx Deli is another one of those places that I've driven by many times during my visits to Kansas City, but had never been in there before this visit. Not only do they specialize in real deli sandwiches, but they also have authentic New York style pizza by the slice. I had some time between appointments on my last visit to Kansas City so I decided to stop into the Overland Park location for lunch.
Actually, the Overland Park d'Bronx Deli is the third of three locations in the greater Kansas City area. The original one at 39th and Bell, a block east of the Kansas/Missouri border in Kansas City, MO (see map) was opened in 1990 by Robert and Janet Bloom. Janet Bloom's father owned an authentic deli in the Bronx (hence the New York pronunciation of "da Bronx" into one word) not far from Yankee Stadium before moving to Kansas City years ago to run the apothecary shop at the Crown Center shopping center. She never forgot her days of being in her father's deli and wanted to bring that same atmosphere to Kansas City.
Robert Bloom also grew up in "da Bronx" and followed Janet out to Kansas City. They decided to opened their first deli and did so after scouting out a number of buildings in the greater K.C. area. The original Bell and 39th location has high tin ceilings and a long, narrow wooden floor - exactly the look of her father's deli in New York City. Originally, the Blooms were going to go with sandwiches only, but after a while they added pizza by the slice to the menu. It quickly became known as one of the best pizzas in Kansas City.
In 1998, the Blooms opened a second location in the Crown Center (see map). They opened their Overland Park location about five years ago.
It was around 1:30 when I made it into d'Bronx Deli in Overland Park located in a strip mall on the east side of Metcalf at 105th St. just north of I-435 (see map). The menu was posted on a wall behind the counter and they featured a number of sandwiches including hot sandwiches like beef brisket, corned beef, meat load, Italian sausage and pastrami. They also had about a half dozen signature sandwiches including a grilled reuben, the "Wild Bill" which featured hot Genoa salami with provolone on a sub roll, and the "Bell Street Bomb" featuring roast beef, turkey, Genoa salami topped with herb cream cheese and provolone.
I was thinking about getting a couple slices of pizza - they either have them by the slice or you can get a 16" whole pizza. I asked what kind of slices they had up and the guy behind the counter said, "Well, we're out of slices right now, but we've got a couple coming up in a bit. We can make slices for you if you like, but it will take about 20 minutes." I didn't really have 20 minutes to wait for a slice or two of pizza. Maybe next time.
Decided to get a sandwich instead, I ended up getting one of d'Bronx Deli's special sandwiches - the Napoli, which had hot cappicola, pepperoni, bologna, and Genoa salami topped with provolone cheese along with pepperocinis, roasted red peppers, sliced green olives, tomato, onions and a vinaigrette dressing. And it was served on a toasted sub bun. Ummm... I was ready for that!
I found a table in the sort of modern looking dining room while I waited for my name to be called. It was about five minutes after I ordered that a young man came over with my sandwich and asked, "You had the Napoli, right?" That's right!
The Napoli wasn't overly large, but it had a lot of toppings on it. The presentation was a little spartan as I didn't get any sides with the sandwich (they featured normal sides like potato salad, cole slaw and cottage cheese, but they also have authentic potato latke's as a side along with a homemade olive salad). But a large quartered kosher dill pickle spear did come with the sandwich - always a plus in my book with any deli.
The sesame seed sub roll was chewy and had a light crunch when you bit into it. The meats were fresh and very flavorful - I love a good spicy cappicola on any Italian sandwich. (For my homemade Italian sandwich featuring cappicola, which I've been told by those who've made it is pretty damn good, click here to see the recipe.)
I did like the roasted red peppers on the sandwich (I may have to try that on my Italian sandwich at home in the future). The tomatoes were fresh which was nice since it was early November. And the vinaigrette was a nice compliment to the whole sandwich. The only thing I thought they could have done better was not be so chincy on the chopped green olive topping. But overall, it was a very good sandwich. I was happy with what I got.
A dealer of mine in the Kansas City area who I saw later in the day told me that while d'Bronx Deli does have good pizza by the slice, there's a place over in Kansas City, MO near the University of Missouri at Kansas City - Pizza 51 - who also does a very good pizza by the slice. "My wife and I have gone to both places back to back just to see which had the better slice. I liked Pizza 51, she liked d'Bronx." He told me I needed to do the same thing next time I came into town.
And I probably will try that at some point. But I found another good deli in my travels. The Napoli at d'Bronx was very good and it may be tough to order some other sandwich when I go back in. But I'm sure whatever I order for a sandwich at d'Bronx will be pretty damn good.