Ask where to get the best corned beef sandwich downtown, and you'll hear one of two answers: the institutional Slyman's Restaurant or the lesser-known Danny's Deli. Both St. Clair Avenue spots have loyal followings though neither Slyman's owner Freddie Slyman nor Danny's owner Tony Gerges gives the rivalry much thought. "There's none of that animosity toward each other," Slyman says. Regulars may insist one is better, but how different are they?
Chip Chop - At Slyman's, only a few employees are trained to trim and shave Slyman's beef, always against the grain, for the right tenderness. Sandwiches are weighed by hand. "We don't have scales," Slyman says. "We know 14 ounces by looking at it."
Weigh In - Slyman's goes through up to 700 pounds of corned beef a day. On St. Paddy's Day, the deli expects to sell 1,000 sandwiches before 6 a.m.
Meat: No Mystery - Though many swear the meats taste different, both delis buy beef from Cleveland's Vienna Distributing Co.
Rye Times - Both delis get their Jewish rye bread delivered daily from local Orlando Bakery. "True Jewish rye is really dense and a little fluffier," explains Slyman, who uses this brand because it holds the pile of beef well. As for Gerges, his choice comes from the flavor of the caraway seed seasoning.
Close Shave - Danny's shaves its beef in super-thin slices, piling them 4 inches high until the sandwich weighs 3/4 of a pound. On March 17, they will make a modest 300 sandwiches.