Wade on Birmingham

Birmingham’s Best Eats: Max’s Delicatessen — anatomy of a Reuben


Max's Delicatessen - Reuben sandwich

At Max’s Delicatessen at the Colonnade, the regular Reuben
comes with corned beef and Russian dressing.
Photo by Brad Daly.

By Glenny Brock and Brad Daly

Taking inspiration from the great delis of Detroit and New York, Max’s Delicatessen at the Colonnade features more than 40 sandwiches. But the standout on the menu is the Reuben ($8.99), which comes with a pickle slice and choice of cole slaw, fresh fruit or potato salad.

Birmingham's Best EatsThe sandwich, always on rye, includes a combination of corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The difference is in the dressing: Some delis serve it with Thousand Island, others use Russian. Max’s is one of the latter, but with three variations. The regular Reuben comes with Russian dressing. The Russian Reuben features pastrami instead of corned beef.

And the Rachel is a smoked turkey sandwich dressed like a Reuben. (Max’s doesn’t offer the variation known as the Southern Reuben, one slathered in barbecue sauce.)

The massive sandwich has a range of piquant flavors: savory and mildly spicy meat, tart dressing and mellow rye. These tastes combine into something distinctive and delicious. Perhaps the only way the sandwich comes up short is by being too tall — unless you pull off some of the meat, it’s the kind of sandwich you have to eat with a knife and fork.

While the menu has a few vegetarian options, most of the setups are meant for meat-lovers. The three dozen non-Reuben sandwiches fall under the combination sandwiches, classic sandwiches or open faces. Other fare includes soups, salads, hamburgers and hot dogs.

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Max’s Delicatessen

  • The Colonnade, U.S. 280 and I-459 [map]
  • (205) 968-7600
  • Maxsdelionline.com
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week

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Video: In the kitchen at Max’s Delicatessen.

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Glenny Brock

Brad DalyWriter Glenny Brock (@glennybrock) and photographer Brad Daly (@bwdaly) launched the Birmingham food blog Stay Hungry (@stayhungrybham) in June. He cooks, she writes, and they both eat, thoughtfully.

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Hungry for more? Check out the menu of Birmingham’s Best Eats!

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