If La Divina has taught us anything, it’s that food served in the back of an unassuming market is — at the very least— worthy of investigation.
Another case in point: Mayback’s Deli in Tonawanda, where a small kitchen churns out meat-centric fare — mostly of the sandwich variety, but with a few departures thrown in for good measure — from a convenience store setting.
Amid coolers of energy drinks and shelves of off-brand snack cakes, a handful of tables stand ready to accommodate the diners who have learned Mayback’s is a reliable source for an affordable, belly-filling meal.
Filling being the essential word. What Mayback’s lacks in finesse, it makes up for in sheer volume. Take the “mini” chicken tender sub ($4.79; a full version is $8.39). Served Buffalo-style with lettuce, tomato, provolone, onion and blue cheese (or ranch), it came with three fat fingers deep on a nicely toasted seven- to eight- inch roll.
Add a side of credible French fries, regular or tossed in a spicy seasoning blend ($1.99 or upgrade to skin-on wedge fries for $3.49, if you’re feeling fancy), and you have a pleasing, gut-busting meal.
With so much heft packed between two buns, coupled with the lubricating effects of hot sauce and chunky blue, eating the chicken tender sub was no delicate affair. Lettuce was strewn, fingers were licked and napkins were defiled.
The structure of the beef and sirloin cheeseburger ($8.99) had a similar effect. It featured a medium-well patty topped with thin slices of well-done roast beef (prepared in house daily, per the helpful gentleman who took my order), American cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo and onion on a toasted roll. My dining companion dubbed it a favorite.
A turkey club sandwich ($8.99) kept the too-big-to-fit-your-mouth-around-it theme going strong. It was fairly standard in execution, with the exception that Mayback’s substitutes ham for bacon - a downgrade, in my book.
In an ideal world, the sandwich would have benefited from freshly roasted turkey and house baked ham. But then again, premium ingredients would call for premium prices. Expensive, Mayback’s is not.
Beyond subs, burgers, and sandwiches, Mayback’s offers chicken wings, pizza, fish fry and a smattering of fried appetizers--just not seven days a week. A sign on the door informs patrons that the deli has changed its hours and will no longer be open Sundays. I guess you’ll just have get your game-day fare elsewhere.
1598 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda (835-0115).
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Parking: Lot in front
Wheelchair accessible: Yes