Best Deli: Joe’s Deli
It’s all about the people at Joe’s Deli, which celebrates a legacy of treating customers like houseguests and staff like family. “It’s more of a ministry than a business,” relates Jeanette Kanaan, who opened Joe’s Deli in Rocky River with her husband Joe in 1994. “I have customers who come in for breakfast, lunch and dinner — they love the food, and they come for the company. They become great friends.”
Kanaan adds, “You’re only as good as your employees. Without them, we can’t do much. They are what make the restaurant what it is.”
Those are a couple reasons for Joe’s Deli’s staying power, along with the quality ingredients, scratch-made menu and kitchen where there’s “no cutting corners,” Kanaan says. “If I’m not proud of it, I’m not going to sell it.”
The Joe’s Deli story started long before the couple built its new restaurant on Hilliard Boulevard, a move to expand from its previous location up the road. Jeanette’s brother emigrated from Lebanon in 1956 at age 21 and eventually moved to Cleveland with a cousin. They opened a grocery and deli across from what is now Cleveland State University.
The business grew and he helped the rest of the family move to Cleveland in 1965. When he took over Larry’s Ham and Eggs on St. Clair Avenue, all of the siblings worked at the restaurant — including Kanaan. The restaurant’s name changed to Slyman’s, which Kanaan credits for the integrity of one of Joe’s Deli’s menu favorites: corned beef.
The Kanaans went on to open Joe’s Deli, and the business has evolved into a West Side community institution. The secret recipe? “We have the best people, we take good care of them and we have always concentrated on serving the best food.”
Kanaan points out three must-tries on the Joe’s Deli menu:
Corned Beef Reuben Classic
Corned beef, piled high with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on grilled rye bread.
Cranberry Chicken Salad
Grilled Amish chicken sits on a bed of romaine tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and topped with sun-dried cranberries, crumbled bleu cheese, pears and strawberries.
A sampler platter with hummus, tabbouleh, two spinach pies and two grape leaves.
19215 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, 440-333-7890, myjoesdeli.com