During a recent visit to Carl's Deli, a construction worker whose work pants were secured to his waist with a duct-tape belt stood in line in front of an office worker in a pinstriped suit and starched white oxford. Such diversity of clientele is typical of this throwback sandwich shop, a gathering place that exudes the reassuring everydayness of a Norman Rockwell illustration. Indeed, Carl's is the kind of deli you could find back East in the 1950s. A place devoid of pretense. No fancy cheeses or unpronounceable fixings here. It's the meat that makes the meal at Carl's, and you can expect to find at least a half-inch of it on any sandwich you order. Of particular note is Carl's pastrami — thinly sliced seasoned beef that melts in the mouth. Vegetarians won't go hungry here (the decadent egg salad is a popular pick), but c'mon, this is a deli! Ordering anything but meat on your sangy is grounds for being airbrushed out of the portrait.
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