Nursery rhymes don’t necessarily need to be for kids. Secrets being shared with everyone absolutely still applies today, and while I might not be uncovering any government conspiracies, I have the next best thing; food. Food is one of those things that is mutually understood in any friendship or relationship, but can also cause and solve problems. Food is also typically better when there is a solid variety to choose from. This is what makes “secret menus” at restaurants so fascinating. Not only do people love getting the inside scoop, they love food too.
Campus Deli, the local and ever popular grab-and-go deli across the street from Marist does in fact have a bit of a secret menu, but started with a secret item. The owner, Stef, says this secret item was actually just an oversight on his wife’s part, Sandy. The couple will have owned Campus Deli for four years in May, and simply forgot to add an item to the big hanging menu. A sandwich titled “The Earthquake” made up of barbecue ribs, bacon, cheddar cheese, hash-browns and eggs on a sub was simply never added by Sandy, Stef says. But the simple mistake has turned it into a bit of a legacy, and a folktale of sorts.
Stef says the off-menu items have grown since they started making pizza, stating that the CBR slice (chicken-bacon-ranch) is one of their most popular orders. Not to mention the other slices they have in the works. “Our cooks are very proactive” Stef says, citing some of the great ideas coming from them. The Hidalgo, another popular item, has been turned into a pizza slice as well, consisting of chicken cutlets, fries, mozzarella sticks, cheese and dressing (a personal favorite of mine as well.) “There are even some sandwiches that people have custom made that I don’t even know how to make and you’d have to ask the cooks for them” Stef continues “one guy invented his own thing that had to do with mac and cheese or something.” Campus Deli isn’t the only place to have custom made orders, however. Red Fox Eatery, though does not contain a secret menu, does cater to customers creativity all the time too.
Other popular hidden menus can be found at places like the other deli around Marist called K&D Deli and Starbucks. Though Starbucks declined to comment, their “secret menu” can actually be found online. K&D Deli, however, does have a few items that the cashier didn’t even know about. The night manager Rob Jaeger had to explain to me that there are two specific chicken sandwiches that are no longer advertised on the menu and need to be asked for, as well as a seasonal sandwich called “Well Dressed Bird” which is warm turkey, stuffing, cranberry mayo on multigrain bread. “It’s been awhile since I’ve had to make that” Jaeger says.
Aside from the ever-growing menu, Stef at Campus Deli says that he loves working here and always has fun with the customers. One girl dressed up as a homeless person for Halloween wearing a “need money for Campus Deli” shirt. Even when people get goofy with his notes concerning credit cards, Stef enjoys the day to day with the customers and the growing creativity in their orders.