The Taste Food Tour :: TJ’s Butcher Block
It’s only fitting to write about TJ’s Butcher Block & Deli as summer grilling and picnic season kicks off. This Lakewood staple has been offering west siders choice cuts of meat, sides and, my favorite: huge, Dagwood-style sandwiches since 1981.
To me, TJ’s always means summer — either burgers or brats on the grill or sandwiches for a picnic on the fly. It’s pretty much a one-stop shop for summer eating. We have purchased many things from the family-owned shop, but it’s the sandwiches that keep me coming back. Forget fast-food chain subs. TJ’s delivers a far better noshing experience.
When both Scott and Evan were active in Saturday soccer with Lakewood Soccer Association as a player and coach/board member/commissioner, respectively, we got into the habit of picking of TJ’s generous sandwiches on Saturday afternoons for a late lunch. And even though we’ve aged out of rec soccer, TJ’s is an easy walk from my house, so when I get a craving for a sandwich, it’s easily and quickly remedied.
I’ve tried a number of the sandwiches, but I keep going back to the immensely tasty “Hello Chicago,” a delectable mound of hot pastrami topped with house-made coleslaw and swiss on rye. There’s just something so appealing about the warm pastrami, the creamy coleslaw and the melted cheese in each bite. For similar reasons, I also am a big fan of the TJ’s reuben sandwiches, both the traditional and the turkey. The family agrees. They’re our most popular orders.
We also pick up something to go with the sandwiches when we’re there. When it comes to sides, I’m hooked on any and all of TJ’s potato salads — traditional, Rocky mountain and bacon/potato/ranch. TJ’s also offers plenty of other accompaniments if potato salad isn’t your thing. To me, it just goes with sandwiches.
I’m glad grilling season is here. A few years ago, we tried Kevin’s burger blend, named after owner Kevin MacDonald, who purchased the deli from his mentor, John Maiselle, when Maiselle retired in 2011. This mix of ground short rib, sirloin and brisket makes for one succulent burger hot off the grill. (I know…always about burgers with me.). We’ve also enjoy the meatloaf mix, brats and other cuts of meat over the years.
Freezer fans can buy meat packages ranging from as small as 21 pounds to up to 32 pounds, with such items as stew beef, roasts, city chicken, steaks, hot dogs, ribs and more.
If you’re stopping in for quick dinner fixings and are running short on time, you can phone in your order and pick it up, packaged and ready to go. Small personal touches keep TJ’s bustling, particularly on weekends and around holidays.
–Robin Suttell, Taste of Lakewood blogger