By now, most of us at Fairfield have experienced the variety of dining options along Post Road; and, when it comes to delis, there certainly are no shortages in town. But how do you decide which one to choose? Your first thought may be to review their ratings on Yelp or determine first what you’re in the mood for — steak, chicken or a salad. Most importantly, you’ll want to definitely know which ones accept StagCards.
Luckily, the Firehouse Deli and Chef’s Table are two Stag hotspots that are sure to satisfy your hunger — and they do indeed take StagCards.
Whether you are sitting in the Firehouse Deli, an old red firehouse enjoying a delicious Buffalo Soldier or at Chef’s Table in what looks like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s own personal deli savoring the incredible Flank Steak Burrito, you are going to have an amazing lunch.
For almost two years now, my friends have been criticizing me for not experiencing Chef’s Table, a great little hotspot just two buildings west of the Fairfield University Downtown Bookstore. This weekend, I ventured out to finally try it.
From the outside, Chef’s Table is truly just a hole in the wall. But when you step inside, it opens up into a large music café. The walls are covered by pictures of rock legends and musical icons including Led Zeppelin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice in Chains, The Beatles and Bob Marley. And if this doesn’t attract the lovers of the classics upon entry, the sweet sounds of a live acoustic guitar can be heard in the background. However, the real allure of Chef’s Table is their delicious breakfast and lunch options.
The three sandwiches I chose to test out were The Flank Steak Burrito, The Filet Mignon Panini and The Grilled Chicken Mozzarella Sandwich. “These three sandwiches are my personal favorite,” said Chef’s Table employee Louis. Luckily, these portions were large so I was able to take the leftovers home for dinner.
All I can say is steak, steak and more steak. The Flank Steak Burrito was filled with diced grilled steak, peppers and onions and melted cheese. The Grilled Chicken Mozzarella Sandwich was cooked to perfection with grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, romaine lettuce, tomatoes and delicious pesto. From the very first bite, there is an explosion of pesto in your mouth, a delicacy (and phenomenon) that outdoes the pesto served at Firehouse Deli. Even more satisfying was the Filet Mignon Panini. This thick cut, soft slice of warm steak melts in your mouth. If you can come back to reality after experiencing that, the tastes that follow include roasted peppers, horseradish sauce and provolone. By far, the Filet Mignon is a must when eating at Chef’s Table and I give it a well-deserved rating of five out of five stars.
In comparison, it is safe to say that the Firehouse Deli has become the most acclaimed sandwich hub for students and faculty alike. Try strolling in on a random Wednesday around noon and if you do not recognize someone eating outside at the picnic tables, you are bound to run into at least one person standing in line that you have seen around campus.
In this condensed yet welcoming space, customers have the option of creating their own lunch from an open salad bar or choosing something from behind the counter where there is a large selection of various potato, macaroni and caprese salads. Breakfast options are also plentiful with a wide variety of bagels, breakfast wraps, omelets and buttermilk biscuits. However, you are missing out if you are not ordering from their selection of cold and hot sandwiches, hotdogs or burgers.
The three sandwiches I chose from at the Firehouse Deli were The Redgate, The Backyard BBQ and The Buffalo Soldier. According to one of the chefs, Nick, “These are the three most popular sandwiches on the menu and all have chicken.” The Redgate is filled with your classic grilled chicken, crispy bacon, jack cheese, basil, mayonnaise and, most importantly, avocado, since most of us suffer from a shortage of avocados at Barone. The Backyard BBQ is comprised of grilled chicken, thick and tangy BBQ sauce, caramelized onions and sharp cheddar all on a hard roll. But, the sandwich that is on fire is the Buffalo Soldier. A crispy chicken cutlet, hot sauce, pepper jack cheese, bleu cheese dressing, lettuce and tomato make up the best sandwich at the Firehouse Deli. The Rastafarian would be proud to find this sandwich “in the heart of America.”
Both restaurants are a short walking distance from the bus stop. The Firehouse Deli is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Unfortunately, if you have classes all day during the week it may be more difficult to get to the Firehouse Deli. Chef’s Table, on the other hand, has more flexible hours; they are open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Overall, Chef’s Table edged out the Firehouse Deli with 4.5 stars out of 5 due to their wide variety of delicious food and their flexible hours. You can follow this establishment on Instagram @chefstablect. The Firehouse Deli is not far behind, earning 3.5 stars out of 5, just one-half star higher than their rating on Yelp.