Slick’s Restaurant & Tavern in the city’s historic Stockade neighborhood is a well-known institution in Schenectady, as the sign in front suggests — “Famous for Sandwiches Since 1974.”
Slick’s Restaurant & Tavern
WHERE: 127 S. Ferry St., Schenectady. Phone: 370-0026.
HOURS: Kitchen open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily.
HOW MUCH: $20.
MORE INFO: MasterCard and Visa accepted. Not handicapped accessible.
And though I’ve been around here for a while, I only recently made my first visit to Slick’s, where you can order from a variety of beers and ales, both domestic and imported, along with more potent potables, soft drinks and juices and sandwiches with sides of macaroni or potato salad, chips and pickles. There’s also a soup of the day.
But it’s the epic sandwiches that impress you and ensure that you’ll be back. The menu is short and basic. Sandwich choices are roast beef, turkey breast, corned beef, ham and cheese, or tuna. Bread choices are white, wheat or rye. Sandwiches are served cold with chips and choice of macaroni or potato salad. You can add cheese, onions or lettuce to your sandwich for 20 cents each.
More than ample
It all seems rather bland and utilitarian — until your plate arrives. This is some prodigious sandwich, heaped so high with meat that you really can’t get your mouth around it. I noticed a meat slicer going to work after I placed my order. It wasn’t until later that I realized they were slicing quantities of ham and roast beef for my order.
I chose a ham and cheese on rye bread with mustard for myself. There had to be almost a pound of ham, along with a couple of slices of American cheese and a good slathering of brown mustard stuffed between two hearty slices of bread. It was the best ham sandwich I’ve had in a long time, and I couldn’t do it justice. I managed to eat half of it and had the other half wrapped to bring to a co-worker.
On the way to the office I was congratulating myself for eating only half my lunch when it occurred to me that I’d still probably eaten a half-pound of ham. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so virtuous.
I brought a roast beef sandwich back to the office to share with colleagues. I ordered it on wheat bread with mayo (Slick’s proudly proclaims on its menu that it uses only Hellman’s). It was every bit as daunting as the ham and cheese. No way any normal mouth could get around this sandwich. Rather, it requires a kind of sideways nibbler approach. Let’s just say it’s not the kind of sandwich I like to eat in public because there’s no way to do so decorously.
Takeout sandwiches cost an extra 25 cents and come with pickles. But if you can, eat your sandwich there and enjoy the macaroni salad, which was almost as good as mom’s.
A slick name
Slick, by the way, is not in the picture anymore, but Mike and Barbara Naumoff retained the name when they brought the place in 1974 and began offering their sandwiches. (How could they not? It’s a great name.) In a follow-up conversation, I asked Mike Naumoff if it’s tough to make a profit with a sandwich so generously stuffed, and he said that’s what you have to do in Schenectady — “give them more bang for their buck.”
The prices are moderate. The roast beef, turkey, corned beef and ham and cheese sandwiches are $6.75 and the tuna, $5.25. My tab, for two sandwiches and soda came to $20 with tax and tip. I considered it a bargain.
Slick’s is not a big place. There is a bar when you first enter and tables and chairs along the wall leading to the rear where there are a few more tables. The place is cheerful, as a neighborhood pub should be, and the staff seemed efficient and pleasant. A fellow warming a stool at the bar a few down from my own was delighted to learn I was a newbie which he figured out when I exclaimed about the size of my sandwich. He told me his son looks forward to coming home to Schenectady so he can get one of Slick’s famous sandwiches.
The Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival, which was held the other day in Little Falls with live music and a garlic cuisine food court, sent out an amusing invitation that said, in part, “Join us as we eat, stink and be merry!”