Decatur Market: One Stop, Then Drop

Lisa Zhuang/Contributing Writer

Decatur Market, which opened in mid-February in its namesake city, is now fully established in both produce and decor. The market oozes an earthy and Parisian vibe, as sprigs of lavender lounge in glass vases atop smooth wood counters and mint-colored chairs, which provide ample seating overlooking the quaint neighborhood. Accordion music reminiscent of French cafes streams through the store, creating a calm, quiet afternoon.

The deli advertises its ingredients as the finest local produce and displays shelves of cured meats. I settled on the Classic Reuben sandwich, which the one-person staff behind the deli counter prepared in satisfactory time. The sandwich was served with no bells or whistles on a paper boat with a small cup of Thousand Island dressing. Melted Swiss cheese and sauerkraut rested carefully atop an ample layer of pastrami contained neatly between two slices of marbled rye. Thankfully, unlike most thick sandwiches, the Classic Reuben did not fall apart when I picked it up.

Admittedly, the flavors were a bit bland and the kraut overtook much of the sandwich. The Thousand Island dressing added more dimension, but did nothing to bring out the Swiss and pastrami, which took a backseat. I was a bit disappointed, because the Swiss and pastrami made up the thickest layer of the sandwich and looked quite impressive on display.

Curious to taste the pastrami on its own, I sampled some without the kraut. Though more flavorful, it was still quite mild, indicating that perhaps the fault is not in the kraut being too strong, but the pastrami being too plain.

The Classic Reuben was not bad. It was clean, filling and generally tasty (as long as you’re a fan of kraut), though its price of $11.50, one would expect more huzzah. The cheapest sandwich, the ‘I Pimento the Fool,’ sold at $8.50, and the Classic Reuben was the most expensive.

Though these prices are not horribly unreasonable given the quality of ingredients, this price point does not create a go-to meal for college students. The deli is perhaps more suited for an occasional lunch, or a place to set up an interview over coffee.

While a single sandwich is perfectly filling, the flavor can tire fast, and there isn’t much in terms of sides. In total, the menu offers eight sandwiches (as well as a kids menu if customers ask). Drinks are available along with a pricey selection of quiches, but not much more.

Beyond the deli, Decatur Market offers a one-stop shop for a variety of organic snacks, drinks and fresh produce. The selection of alcohol is quite impressive, offering wine, champagne and beer from both local and national brands. Though the store is still getting its bearings, visible through the occasional sparse shelf still waiting to be stocked, the market acts as a great neighborhood convenience store with the added plus of quality goods.

All in all, Decatur Market certainly boasts quality with its mostly organic and local ingredients. The only downside is the pricing, which create expectations for something better, but the atmosphere is clean and comfortable, with accommodating staff and ample dining space. Though it may not be everyday fare, it’s a great place to get away for some refined dining in a quiet, laid back atmosphere.