‘Watts for Dinner’: It’s all good! At Big Al’s Deli

Will Watts

When it comes to business, consistency is the key. That’s right out of the Waffle House Bible for would-be managers. When you go into one of those restaurants, you know exactly what you’re going to get. And that keeps people coming back for more.

Marco Island’s Big Al’s shares that philosophy. How do I know? After eating there for many years, I can attest to the fact that the food is consistent – meaning it always tastes the same as the last time you had it – and is consistently fantastic. They have the best chili on the island, one of the best split pea soups, amazing chicken soup and the best deli sandwiches around. 

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For this visit, I ordered the regular turkey breast hoagie. I don’t know where they get the bread, but it’s always fresh, super soft and delicious. If the bread tastes old, the deli is not very good. They’re just not moving sandwiches as fast as they should be – not a problem here.

The meat is always piled high. It and the cheese are freshly-sliced for each sandwich. Boar’s Head, IMHO, the best meat around these parts.

For my toppings, I picked lettuce, tomato and pickle with mayo, mustard and American cheese. Just like the bread, the toppings are always super fresh. I also had some amazing potato salad on the side.

I also ordered the chicken soup. It’s like my second flu shot. No joke, you just feel so comforted by this dish. I never like using the word “homemade” when talking about takeout, but it really tastes like homemade – by a mom.

My dining companion ordered the Greek salad. It features tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta cheese, and olives and dressed with salt, pepper, Greek oregano, and olive oil. This salad is enormous and earned rave reviews. The perfect blend and amount of ingredients. You’d usually have to go to a Greek restaurant to get a salad this good.

He also ordered the “Sun” wrap, featuring honey maple turkey breast with sun dried tomatoes, walnut pesto with feta, lettuce, tomato and onion which is then grilled on the press. Original and awesome!

He partook of his favorite soup as well, the split pea. It’s thick and tasty with chunks of ham. Incredible!

I didn’t have it this trip, but I also recommend the trio salad. You can pick from chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad or “krab” salad. I always pick the tuna, chicken and egg. Don’t make me choose a favorite, I’d be hard pressed. The trio is severed over a traditional veggie salad, and with a side of dressing. Yummy!

I highly recommend everything on Big Al’s menu. The meatballs served with a side of Italian bread (fantastic – watch the video at the Facebook account), the hot dogs and chili dogs (OMG!). I could eat there every day without duplicating a meal. And get there fast, because when all the snowbirds arrive, the line is out the door and down the street. And nobody ever gives up without getting their food. It’s that good. Happy eating! 

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This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Big Al’s Deli

  • 715 Bald Eagle Dr, Marco Island, inside Pelican Plaza
  • 239-642-8080
  • facebook.com/Bigalsdeli/