This past Saturday, we had planned on having lunch at Wright's, but after walking up and seeing the line to the door, we switched to a back-up plan. A friend of Traci's had told her about a little German deli on Manhattan so off we went in search of it. A few minutes later we came upon the fore-mentioned deli, Schiller's German Delicatessen, at the corner of Manhattan and El Prado.
It turns out that Schiller's is one of the oldest delis in Tampa. The deli was opened by the Schiller family in 1952 and has been owned and operated by the Trunk family for the past twenty-three years. There are a few shelves of German foods and a German beer section in the back of Schiller's, but the main attraction at the little place is clearly the deli and its long list of German sandwiches.
I decided to give the trademark Schiller sandwich a try- piled with meats, cheeses and cole slaw on rye - and Traci decided upon a turkey sandwich on an onion roll. I also ordered a side of cole slaw. We sat at one of the handful of tables and both enjoyed our sandwiches. Traci said it felt like we were eating a sandwich in grandma's kitchen and I couldn't agree more. Everyone was friendly.
On the way out, we noticed that Schiller's also offers a lunch plate special, which includes your choice of two different types of sausages, and also offers all-beef hot dogs. Schiller's is also open for breakfast. While the sandwiches weren't as big as what you'll get at Wright's, they were tasty and cost a few bucks less. I hate lines so not having to wait forever was a big plus as well.
We'll definitely be adding Schiller's to our list of local sandwich joints that we visit. While my favorite remains Wright's, Schiller's has its own charm and is a good second choice, as is Italian market and deli Castellano & Pizzo down the road on Manhattan. The no-frills Interbay Meat Market, south of Gandy (SOG) on Interbay and MacDill, also turns out good, hefty-sized sandwiches.
Three other local sandwich shops I have on my list to try out in the coming months includes Zudar's on Platt near Bayshore Blvd, Mott & Hester Deli on Dale Mabry, tucked into a strip center almost across the street from Wright's, and the well-known Mazzaro's Italian Grocery on 22nd St. in St. Pete.
Bottom-line: The next time you're faced with a long line at Wright's, consider heading over to Schiller's German deli for tasty sandwiches in a homey setting. You'll save a few bucks, too.