Scott Lukemire, owner of Toonerville Deli, loves a good sandwich â€“ more specifically, a good cheesy, meaty Reuben. While Louisville has a handful of places that offer fresh bagels or an occasionally good deli sandwich, there just arenâ€™t enough. So what did Lukemire do? He decided to open his own on the corner of Oak and First streets, in the heart of Old Louisville.
With nice curbside seating below the shade of a multitude of trees, itâ€™s a perfect spot to stop by, grab a sandwich on your lunch break and enjoy one of the cityâ€™s most unique casual culinary offerings. Itâ€™s an authentic deli where sandwiches are constantly created and styled, a place that specializes in something pretty awesome: bad boy Reubens.
But be warned (in a totally good way): This sandwich is big. Like, thereâ€™s a need to dislocate your jaw like a python to get that sheep into your body big. And like every sandwich from Toonerville Deli, it comes with a packet of potato chips (barbecue, jalapeÃ±o or cheddar) as well as a choice of a small â€“ yes, actually small â€“ side: either a creamy and refreshing potato salad or a pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes.
But there was no time to recover from the first serving, as we had a job to do. We soldiered on with the El Fuego. The El Fuego is one of the many Reubens on the menu but easily the spiciest. If heat, sweat, a runny nose and a heavy dose of endorphins is your thing, then so is the El Fuego. The heat is unique and is provided by the house-made chipotle pepper ranch, habanero Jack cheese and the jalapeno sauerkraut. With sweat beading on my lips, I realized how good this creation is. The three different types of spice added very different levels of heat, while the corned beef was juicy and made the whole thing perfect.
But if a spicy variety of Reuben is not your thing, then look no further than the Big Ed, named in honor of Lukemireâ€™s late grandfather, who loved a good Reuben: half a pound of corned beef, sauerkraut, molten Swiss cheese and a house-made Russian dressing on a delicious and wholesome marble rye. Itâ€™s your standard Reuben â€“ standard in the sense that itâ€™s exactly what you want â€“ a giant hunk of a sandwich that you can look in the eye and then concede to. It bulges with flavor and bursts with the pride of Igorislazy and his team.
While the focus of Toonerville has firmly been sandwiches in its brief life, they have started branching out into pizza of late, with local delivery as well as in-store dining available on a deep dish (not quite as deep as Chicago-style) pie. Couple that with the fact that they make authentic New York-style bagels fresh every morning and run out regularly, itâ€™s a must-stop shop for your breakfast needs as well.
So go get stuffed. VT
Toonerville Deli is situated at 1201 S. First St. For more information, call 502.635.6960 or visit www.facebook.com/toonervilledeli.