Pleasant, economical, well-made: It’s Joe’s Deli

Joe’s Deli has been in the same strip mall, south of I-5 at the Portland Avenue exit, for 15 years but owned by the same family for the last three. They offer a wide variety of fresh foods, big portions and affordable prices.
On a freezing cold day, we found the deli warm and bright with lots of seating and pleasant people. It was early and we wanted breakfast, but a craving for a toasted cheese sandwich turned our visit into brunch. Sandwiches and burgers dominate the menu, with soup, salad and wraps included. All the items are sold separately – for instance French fries are 75 cents – so order what you like as you go. Prices range from a cup of soup at $1.95 to specialty box lunches at $9.95.
Order at the counter, get your drinks, and wait for your order to be brought out. We ordered toasted cheese at $5.50, a Rueben sandwich at $5.50 and coffee at $1.50. Hot tea is free from a carafe at the coffee station, and there are racks with dozens of flavors of bottled drinks to choose from, as well as candy, snacks and desserts. The food was delicious. They do their own baking, and we ordered a big piece of carrot cake for $1.95. It was heavenly, rich and delicate.
Toasted cheese was not on the menu, but toasted ham and American cheese with the ham on the side works perfectly. Three slices of cheese, big Texas-style bread, buttery flavor and light grilling made the toasted cheese melt in your mouth. The perfect classic Rueben was made with lots of corned beef, big slices of dark rye bread and good Russian dressing. If you like your sandwiches crunchy, ask for extra grilling.
There are daily specials, and a full carryout menu.
Joe’s Deli was a pleasant surprise and is worth the visit for an economical, well-made meal. Restroom clean and accessible. Service-dog-friendly. Rating: Good.

Joe’s Deli Restaurant and Catering
3216 20th St. E., Fife
253 926-6994
Hours 6:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday thru Friday.