Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hanging at Hollingshead's Before Hockey

368 Main Street
Orange, CA 92868

Around this time every year I get more and more excited. The dreaded holidays are long past, I'd usually say that the weather is getting warmer, but it never gets cold here, and the hockey season is ending, and then the real games begin, playoff games. A great time of year.

We split our season tickets three ways, so that's 15 different dinner options before games. Most of the time we are running a little behind, because Katie gets out of work late, or there's traffic. On those game days we usually just drive through somewhere and eat in the parking lot. On this afternoon however, Katie was off of work, and we decided to try a new place, Hollingshead's.

Hollingshead's is definitely not new though. They have been in this spot for a long while, and before that they were on Tustin Avenue, also in the city of Orange. All together they have been in business since 1963. That's a long time. They were well ahead of the curve when it came to serving a wide variety of beers, like a lot of places these days. They offer up 500 different bottled beers, along with 22 beers on tap. They specialize in hard to find German, Belgian, and American micro-beers.

What has brought us here tonight though is their sandwich counter. I believe it was in one of their Best of OC issues, that the OC Weekly had one of Hollingshead's sandwiches listed as best in OC, and I jotted it down.  We arrived here to a packed house on a recent Friday night at 5. We were greeted by the very personable owner and proprietor, Ken. After some small talk about his beloved Packers and the Ducks, we got down to the business of ordering sandwiches.

Their sandwich menu is divided into four tiers, going from basic sandwiches, to more complex ones. Single sandwiches start at $5.99 and go up to $8.99, while they also offer double versions from $10.99 to $16.99. Since I was going to be having two sandwiches, I would be staying away from their doubles. We grabbed a seat out front and waited for our sandwiches to be ready. After about a ten minute wait, this is what came out to our table.

Katie was immediately captivated by this Demon Sandwich ($5.99) which was near the top of the menu, so I don't even believe that she took a look at the other sandwiches on there. This one came with pastrami, turkey, Swiss, mayo, mustard, lettuce, and tomato. It usually comes on a roll, but Katie requested that it come on rye. She liked this sandwich, but kind of felt she needed to order a double the next time she comes here. She called this a working man's kind of sandwich. Not a fancy sandwich, but still solid. She also tried out the Deviled Eggs ($1.49), which she was very pleased with. She really enjoyed the touch of mustard that elevated these above regular deviled eggs.

I started things off with the first sandwich that I had written down on my list, the Beef and Blue ($7.99). I heard about this sandwich long ago from my very good friend Ryan, who listed this as one of the best sandwiches he has had. It came on sourdough, with roast beef, blue cheese, mayo, and lettuce. This was a very good sandwich, but the blue cheese really overpowered near the end. Big time flavor though. It might have been made better with a little extra mayo, but at least this way the roast beef stood out a little more. I also got a Half Pint of Potato Salad ($2.49) to go along with my two sandwiches. Ken told me that this was his mothers recipe, and they did her proud with this one. Very creamy, the potatoes were fork tender, and they limited the amount of mustard in this version, which combined to make this a great potato salad. A throwback to the potato salad of yesteryear, where they don't try to do too much with it.

The other sandwich I had written down was the Great Scott ($8.99). This is the one that made the OC Weekly. It came with smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, bacon, avocado, mayo, honey mustard, lettuce, and onion, on squaw bread. This different take on a turkey club was pretty good as well, but was a little on the bland side compared to the beef and blue. The meats here are sliced fresh, but I'd like a little heavier hand when adding the condiments. Looking at the bread, I did not think it would be able to handle the contents of the sandwich, but it did an admirable job.

Even though I had two sandwiches, and the potato salad, I could not resist one of their Double Fudge Brownies ($1.19) that was sitting by the register. I'm glad I followed my gut by getting one of these. This brownie was very good. Great texture, very fresh, and a chocolate lovers dream. I almost went back in to get another one, but we were already running a little late to the Duck's game, so that will have to wait for next time.

Yes, there will be a next time that we come back to Hollingshead's. I'm interested to see the double versions of these sandwiches on upcoming visits here, but for this trip the singles were fine. Having the single versions enabled me to try two sandwiches on this night. With a menu of 30 plus sandwiches on it, I look forward to finding my favorite ones here. We were greeted right away by Ken, who made us feel like long time customers in this cozy spot behind the Duke's, at Main and Culver. Sometimes these kind of places tend to be a little cliquey, but that was not the case at Hollingshead's. We really appreciate the warm welcome Ken. Now on to the best time of the year for us, the hockey playoffs.

Out of five drive-in theaters, (because the drive-in was invented by Richard Hollingshead in Camden, New Jersey in 1933), five being best to zero being worst, Hollingshead's gets 3 drive-in theaters.

For more information about Hollingshead's, go to their website here: http://www.hollingsheadsdeli.com/index.html

Hollingshead's Delicatessen on Urbanspoon


  1. Hey fellow OC blogger! I've been wanting to try Hollingshead's for a while, still haven't made my way out there. This place looks way brighter and sandwich-ier than I imagined.. I thought it was going to be a fancy bar!

    Great run-down of this place though, cheers!

  2. Huy - Definitely not a fancy joint, but they have some pretty good sandwiches , and lots of beers to choose from. Make sure to get their double sandwiches, as those will be the ones to fill you up. Keep up the great work on your blog, It looks great and has gotten me craving some Vietnamese cuisine.