American Deli isn’t a household name. It’s not the first fast food place that comes to mind when people talk about going out to eat. In fact, it isn’t even all that well-known outside of the state where it was established. So what makes this smaller fast food chain sp special? What makes it stand out among the competition? There are plenty of things to differentiate American Deli from its competitors. It isn’t just another random fast food joint that’s going to fade into the background because its food is forgettable or weird or given strange names. In fact, American Deli is almost refreshing in its earnestness about its food. For instance, their burger isn’t given any sort of names like the Deli Burger or the All-American Grand Slam Burger Supreme or anything like that. It is literally just called “burger.” How great is that?
This eatery might not be known to you, or even any of your friends, and its really a shame, because they are serving up some truly great things at American Deli, and they have persisted in their business despite the fact that they have never achieved the heights of fame that other fast food places have. They pride themselves on their wings, but all of their other food has something going for it as well. They don’t stop at one type of food, content to rest on their laurels. They try everything out to see what they can do and how they can do better than the competition. These are the top ten untold truths of American Deli!
10. First Location opened in 1989
The eighties were a pretty crazy time, and when they were coming to a close, a lot of things were still happening that would define the decade. The Berlin Wall came down, George H.W. Bush was Elected President, and American Deli opened its first location in 1989. That means they just barely got int there to be considered part of the eighties. Most people who are reading this probably weren’t even alive in the eighties. It was a turbulent decade, full of controversy, crazy clothing styles, great teen movies, and the dawning of new wave and MTV. It was the perfect time for something different yet familiar like American Deli to open up. People might not have been ready for the food revolutions taking place today, but they definitely wanted a place they could get wings and a sandwich.
And so, with the creation of American Deli, people in the United States got what they were looking for: a restaurant that appealed to their most patriotic instincts. Somewhere they could go to experience the flavors that came up in America from all of the great cultures that helped to build the country. American Deli was more than just a restaurant. It was a symbol of everything that Americans wanted from their country. So they went, and ate, and made the business a success, showing that the eighties weren’t done producing greatness just yet. They still had a little bit of that signature attitude left in them.
9. Started Out in a Mall
Not only was the first American Deli opened in 1989, but it was also opened in the DeKalb Mall in Georgia. There might not be anything more eighties than a restaurant getting its start as part of the mall food court, but it really is indicative of the time. It really is a product of the time, when you start to think about it. A restaurant opening in a mall as its first location. Nowadays, people barely even remember what a mall is. Why go to a giant building full of stores, where the up escalator and down escalator are a mile apart when they can just go on Amazon and buy thins from the comfort of their home without even putting pants on?
There’s one thing missing from the online shopping experience, though. It’s the food court. Sure, you have your own kitchen and whatever food is in your fridge, but how is that better than walking into that big open area, and seeing all the wonderful choices for food that you could make that day? Do you want Chinese? A burger? Or maybe some delicious wings? That’s what makes the food court so special: it has all of those things, and more! Think about that the next time you’re ordering paper towels through Alexa. Now you can’t make an excuse to grab some fries, a shake, and maybe even a Cinnabon.
8. Serves Lemon Pepper Wet Wings
Every region of the united states has their signature flavors. New York has its Pizza, California has In-N-Out, and most of the South has its own variation on barbecue. However, in Georgia, there is one flavor that is more famous in that state than anywhere else: the lemon pepper wet wing. You might recognize the renowned wing flavor from Donald’ Glover’s FX show, Atlanta, where the signature wing flavor was given a shout out. However, that particular wing came from another location called JR Crickets. They are not the only Georgia-based restaurant that serves the signature flavor, though, as American Deli also does their own variation on the lemon pepper wet.
While the lemon pepper wet from JR Crickets uses the lemon pepper dry rub on the wings which are then tossed in a classic buffalo wing sauce, American Deli does things a little bit differently. They still use the lemon pepper dry rub, but they also have an actual lemon pepper sauce that they will toss the wings in upon request. It just goes to show that no matter how big a business gets, it can never really abandon its roots. Serving regional food and doing it well are the perfect ways for a business to stay in touch with its main consumer base and remind people of where it came from. If you ever find yourself in Georgia, don’t miss out on the chance to try the lemon pepper wet wings from American Deli or any other locations.
7. Also serves Fried Rice
You might think that with a name like American Deli, the restaurant would only serve ostensibly America n foods like chicken wings, burgers, and hero sandwiches. However, American Deli knows that one of the things that really makes America great is its diversity, which is why they also served Gyros and fried rice. It’s not enough to call yourself American and serve only the foods that people expect. You have to give them something that they might not think you would have. You have to celebrate all of the cultures that formed the backbone of America. Things might not have always been perfect for everyone (and that is really a huge understatement), but by bring forth the flavors of each culture in a way that’s accessible, American Deli is doing something right.
Their fried rice can be ordered with shrimp, chicken, beef, or veggies. You can also make it a combination, getting more than just one meat. Now that’s getting some bang for your buck! After all, who wouldn’t want a delicious plate of fried rice packed with chicken and shrimp? If that doesn’t fill you up, then nothing will. Next time you visit an American Deli, consider trying the fried rice along with any of their other great dishes. You might be surprised at just how good it really is. And it probably pairs pretty well with a nice order of lemon pepper wet wings.
6. They Repost People’s Photos on Instagram
Basically, every business has a social media presence now, but not all of them know how to use it properly. They might post terrible photos of their food, or just post advertisements with no engagement with their followers, or they might just be really boring about everything they have to say. It’s possible that they’re trying not to be controversial, but when did non-controversial things ever get attention?
The approach American Deli takes to its social media, and particularly its Instagram page, is actually quite ingenious. They simply repost photos from other Instagram users who have visited the restaurant or posted photos of their food. It’s a great way to show that people love your business enough to include it in their own photo feed, and it also gives American Deli a chance to share other people’s work while crediting them for the photo. It’s a really smart way to advertise the business: just let other people make the ads for you and share them online! Most other businesses are paying money to creative advertising agencies who just keep putting out the same stuff, over and over again. They might even hire social media people to do the job for them when really this is all you need to do to build engagement with your customers and show the world that people love your food enough to talk about it with their followers.
5. Did $38,000,000 in Sales in 2013
Restaurants need to make money. That’s probably one of the most obvious statements ever made, but it really is true! Restaurants live or die on the basis of their profits. So how does American Deli fare in that department? well, it may not be raking in cash by the billions like McDonald’s, but it cleans up pretty well for itself. In 2013, American Deli reported $38,000,000 in sales. That may seem like a small number when talking about the restaurant industry, but don’t forget that American Deli is a regional restaurant that operates mostly in shopping malls. When you take those facts into consideration, as well as the affordable prices for food that they offer, that’s actually pretty impressive overall. American Deli is still going strong and is most likely doing better each year.
Considering how many businesses fail in the United States alone every year, it’s almost somewhat of a miracle for one like American Deli to find its foothold and keep going strong even after 29 years. The fact of the matter is that American Deli is making its own way in the restaurant business. It’s not a behemoth, but it makes itself known as a business that refuses to stop. Besides, how could any business in Georgia go out of business selling lemon pepper wet chicken wings? Nobody would ever let that happen, so it looks like American Deli is going to keep surviving for a little while.
4. They Serve Beef and Chicken Burgers
Most places that serve a burger will basically give you one option: beef. If you’re lucky they might offer a veggie burger. However, that’s it. Beef or veggie. Why are there no other options for meat that’s been made into a patty? After all, people enjoy the occasional turkey burger at home, even going so far as to make salmon burgers sometimes. Why haven’t restaurants caught on to this fact? Sure, there are places that will say you can get a chicken sandwich, but not everyone wants a chicken sandwich! After all, it’s a breaded piece of chicken on bread. Sometimes you can get a grilled piece of chicken instead, but it’s really never that great. The limp, lifeless white meat that carries no flavor with it just ends up being disappointing. However, at least one restaurant is offering something different.
At American Deli, you can get a chicken burger! That’s right, in addition to the standard beef burger, customers can order a burger patty made from chicken. It’s a great way to cut down on the fat content of a regular burger. Also, if you have to avoid red meat for any reason, you can still have the experience of a nice, juicy burger without all the unhealthy aspects of beef. This shows once again that American Deli understands its customer base by offering different variations on its food. It’s a great model that more businesses should consider following since it gives the consumer more choice, which is always seen as a good thing.
3. Wings Can be a Side Dish
When you eat at a restaurant, you get your main course and a side, typically. However, the choices for sides can be a little underwhelming, and a lot of the time it’s just the same things over and over again. Fries? They’re popular, but what if you want something different? Salad? That one is healthier, but it always seems like you’re going to regret it as soon as you order it. Some places offer soup as a side, but that just seems like you’re getting an extra drink, considering the debatable nature of soup.
There are, of course, the fancier places where maybe you can get sweet potato fries or onion rings, but often they are few and far between. Not to mention the fact that it’s just more carbs, and if you’re the kind of person who wants to eat at a restaurant, but not always have to deal with the high carb counts, then you’re kind of stuck with the salad when it comes to your options for a side dish. This is not true at American Deli, where they have changed the side dish game forever with the fact that as a side dish, you can order chicken wings! Yes, imagine it: a delicious cheesesteak, or a burger, with a side of chicken wings, drenched in delicious sauce. Maybe you might even get some of their famous lemon pepper wet wings with your main course. That brings us to the next point!
2. They Have Nine Wing Flavors
Most places that serve chicken wings fall terribly short on the number of sauce flavors they have to offer. Typically you will see, mild, medium, hot, and honey garlic. Those are fine flavors, but what if you want something outside of that realm? What if you want to send your taste buds on a culinary adventure, tasting things that you have never had on a chicken wing before? Do you have any options? Where can you go? What can you do?
Well, at American Deli, they pride themselves on offering more than your standard range of wing flavors. There, you can get your wings with one of nine delicious sauces that they offer. We’ve already mentioned the lemon pepper wet several times, however you can also just get the plain lemon pepper without the additional sauce if you’re looking for something a little less intense when it comes to flavor. You can also get your wings with Hot, Medium, Mild, BBQ, Teriyaki, Sweet Chili, Garlic Parmesan, or Family Gold sauces. That’s plenty of flavors to choose from, but what’s also nice to see is the range in different flavors. After all, most wing places won’t offer a teriyaki sauce for their wings. And while American Deli offers your typical wing sauces, it even changes things up with sweet chili, garlic parmesan, and the secret sauce which is called family gold. There’s not much to describe that particular flavor, so you might just have to try it for yourself to find out what it’s all about.
1. They Got a Name Drop From 2 Chainz
American Deli might not be a major chain in the United States, but its made a name for itself in its native Georgia, where the locals stand by its variety of wing flavors, its excellent service, and its commitment to serving great food. It’s even wormed its way into popular culture, although in a way that you might not expect. It might have never been mentioned on a TV show or featured prominently in a movie, but it has received a shout out from a major rapper. Georgia rapper 2 Chainz gives American Deli a name drop in his song “Hot Wings.” That’s a pretty big honor to be mentioned in a song by someone who has made it as big as 2 Chainz has, and no doubt boosted the profile of the already popular Georgia eatery. After all, it would be hard to resist trying those hot wings after a 2 Chainz endorsement.
Overall American Deli is a fine eatery with its own history, style of food, and connection to the state where it was started. More eateries might take a page from American Deli’s book and start serving some different foods, trying to expand on something that they already do, or just trying things out to see if they work. American Deli may not be fancy, and it may not be as big or recognizable as Wendy’s or KFC or McDonald’s. However, it has its own place in the fast food pantheon, and we think that it will continue to grow and get better as the years go by. Just make sure to try those lemon pepper wet wings at some point. They really have made their mark on the culture.