‘Daily Deli’ Replacing Upper Crust Cafe in Ballston

by ARLnow.com October 7, 2011 at 9:07 am 4,994 40 Comments

Are our tastes getting a bit more downscale during times of continued economic uncertainty?

In Ballston, Upper Crust Gourmet Cafe is being replaced by a ‘Daily Deli’ at 1000 N. Randolph Street. Upper Crust, which served a variety of food and was generally well-reviewed, closed in March.

“Coming soon” signs posted outside the storefront indicate that Daily Deli will serve “New York style sandwiches.” Not much else is known about the restaurant.

Hat tip to Mark P.

  • JoeyBag-oDonuts

    Here comes another place that claims to be “New York style”. NY style means a lot more then any old sub or pizza shop. It is about fresh ingredients, large portions, good personal customer service, and fair “blue collar” prices. We don’t need another imposter in Arlington charging an arm and a leg for something that sucks. I’m hoping for the best, but preparing to be let down.

    • Agreed

      Yahtzee to the above comment. If it’s another pretentious, $10 a sandwhich place, I will gladly walk down to giant, get a half pound of boars head roast beef for $2.5, a kaiser roll for $1, and make the damn thing my self.

      • CW

        If giant is truly selling BH roast beef for $5 a pound, you had better get the F out of my way, because I will run you over on the way to that deli counter.

        My guess is that they’re not.

        • Andrew

          Yeah, more like $10 a pound…

    • JamesE

      NY style to me means pretentious foodies with stupid blogs who won’t shut up about how awesome NYC is and how everything is better there including a bag of cheetos.

  • I see what you’re saying, but…

    Ok, so I’m right there with you on that a lot of places come here claiming to advertise some sort of home town charm that’s totally the opposite, I wouldn’t argue that. And any chain that comes in claiming to represent a city or town as if it will boost its popularity even if it can’t deliver the correct results is dumb (but seem to continue popping up every where), but only two points I have are:

    1) People have been on here for ages talking about every restaurant sucks and they really really want a deli… so let’s at least give it a shot or a chance to prove what it’s got. True some of the charm that comes from these town based places is that they don’t have these fancy store fronts and windows, but when you front entrance and exterior design is regulated by the building, people need to get past that (not saying you, you didn’t reference this at all, but I think it’s one reason why at a glance people might not give this a chance even though it could be exactly what they asked for).

    2) I lived in NY for years and had a lot of very close friends that were from there and still even the best hole-in-the-wall places and wonderful local spots that make my mouth water to this day remembering the freshness and memories, I still had a hard time finding things that had ‘fair “blue collar” prices’… I’m not saying it was impossible, but the city is outrageously expensive just like Arlington (not comparing the two by any means, but they do have SOME generally qualities that all urban areas and “cities” tend to have). True, it shouldn’t be outrageously priced, but in order to even pay rent in the area when people claim they want it here but they don’t want it to be marked up too much… it won’t last or stay here. That’s on the list of problems when cost of living goes up so high in an area.

    I’m not trying to fight or gripe, just saying, give it a chance before the place is even open to start off on a negative note sort of sets the tone for comments on this place from here on out.

    • Clarendon

      I like the “try before complain” rule !

      I actually complained about the lack of a good deli in Clarendon, but after I realized I haven’t tried IOTA’s sandwich menu. I’ve had their breakfast sandwiches and they were pretty darn good (along with french-press coffee). But, their lunch menu looks like it is worth a try – only I’m not in Clarendon on weekdays. Maybe this weekend…


    • SteveP

      It’s the same sort of thing anywhere, really. It’s very hard to find Buffalo Wings like they do in Buffalo anywhere outside of upstate NY (It’s not hard. Fry wings. Add melted butter and Franks hot sauce. Serve with celery and chunky blue cheese). This includes NYC as well as the DC area.

      And I can’t begin to tell you how many, uh, discussions, I’ve had with people about hot dogs. There’s dozens of styles across the US and apparently nobody but peoples favorite places in their hometown does them right.

      NYC is an odd food place. Lots of places are dismissed by the locals as “for tourists”, but frankly in a city of about 10 million, all those locals aren’t being served by the half dozen or so places that people tell me are the best for pizza/dogs/etc. Mind you, ask two different locals and you’ll get some but not complete overlap on the recommendations.

      So in the end, my criteria is only that the place serves good food for a price I’m willing to pay. If the dishes served are in the style, then go ahead and say that (I won’t judge until I see the menu, and then again, I haven’t spent the time there to be a great judge of all things NYC). But keep in mind that authentic is going to be in the eye of the beholder as no two places in NYC are alike either.

      • CW

        The best hot dogs come from Syracuse!!!

      • Clarendon

        Best thing I ever ate (at a deli) – according to Food Network


        Note, only one in NYC !

        • Clarendon

          Two, actually in NYC. 🙂

          • SteveP

            And one from Buffalo! (Charlie the Butcher’s Kitchen) Beef on weck!

            @CW – you referring to the white hots? They’re called “coneys” in Syracuse, right? I’ve got a bias for the Rochester white hots myself.

            Honestly I’m a vegetarian now, but I do have fond memories of all of the food culture from the places I’ve lived.

          • CW

            Yeah, Hofmann’s…Snappys/Coneys. Yum.

        • North A-Town Snob

          I have gone to Sarcone’s in the Italian Market in South Philly many times and it is pretty much some of the best deli I ever had. The bread from their bakery is silly good. If anyone is ever there I’d recommend it.

    • Aaron

      Are you from NY or from NYC? Just about everything in NYC is overpriced — with the notable exception of the dining scene. One rewarding part of visiting New York City is that regardless of which borough you’re in, you will eat much better there than you can in the DC area at the same price point, except perhaps at the TGIFridays/Burger King level.

      • CW

        I actually agree with this statement 100%. D.C. has the most overpriced restaurants of any city I’ve ever been to in my life. I’ve all but given up on “fine dining in D.C”. The whole scene was born of and sustained upon the desire of the elite to feel powerful, usually while wining and dining clients. While the quality might be good, I never come away feeling like I’ve gotten my money’s worth. And to those who will say I’m just unable to appreciate the finer things, yes, there have been plenty of occasions where I’ve spent a couple hundred on a dinner and felt I’ve gotten my money’s worth. Just not as many in D.C.



    • John

      I’m craving one of those too, but I doubt they can pull it off. No one in DC makes a good corned beef on rye. You got to go to the real NY or LA for a decent corned beef sandwich.

      • QPGirl

        Actually Baltimore has some decent delis and good corned beef if you know where to go…

        • CW

          But why would you want corned beef when you can have pit beef?!

          • John

            Yes. Pit beef. And Samos in Highlandtown for Greek food. And better have cash on hand.

            But where can I get Maryland fried chicken, Maryland beaten biscuits, and Maryland spoon bread?

          • CW

            Uh, Maryland?

          • John

            Some old restaurant in Baltimore that closed years ago had that on the menu. I’m still looking for a good local restaurant with spoon bread, if anyone knows.

  • John

    What Arlington could use is an reasonably priced, independent, artisan bakery/cafe type place that offers sandwiches, salads, pastries, cakes, savory food, seasonal meals, catering, etc. Of course, only organic food, grass-fed beef, and free range chicken. Chains like Le Pain Quotidien, Panera, or PAUL (which is actually really good), etc don’t come close to what I mean here. Rabbit is nice, but its concept is too narrow.

    Other cities have such cafes, and the long lunch and dinner lines are a testament to their popularity. This market is underserved. Whoever opens one of these artisan cafes will become rich and/or very popular.

    • CW

      I can’t tell if you’re being serious or sarcastic. Isn’t Northside Social pretty darn close?

      • John

        The post probably was a little facetious in parts; but seriously, the dc-area needs better gourmet/artisan/whatever reasonably priced cafe options. The concept has grown considerably in LA and NYC so I guess it’ll make its way to DC before long, like the cupcake trend.

        Northside social is great within its niche, but it’s the places that merge restaurant, deli, and bakery into an accessible cafe-type establishment that have really hit it off in other cities.

        • CW

          Gotcha. I feel like college towns always have places like that.

  • 1020 quincy

    Wasn’t this supposed to have been a spanish style tapas restaurant?

  • CW

    Uhh, not to burst anyone’s bubble, but you do realize that this is likely a place run by people who have never been to NY or who have any idea what NYC style is, but are just using a generic marketing term? There are literally dozens of places in and about downtown D.C. like this, using terms that they don’t understand. Like all the italian places that are run by people who don’t know anything about italian food. Here, here’s an example:


    When I saw a menu for that place I laughed. Why are they branding based on references to Philadelphia? Their menu is all over the place; makes no sense. I’d expect the same out of this place. No chopped liver, no house-smoked meats, nothing like that.

  • Ballstonian

    I’ve lived within .10 miles of that restaurant area for the past 6 years. It’s changed so many times, i’m surprised anyone is even willing to give it a shot again. Always though Uppercrust Gourmet was a bad business name, it always implied to me over priced sandwiches…and it was never that great.

    Too bad Big Buns couldn’t move down there, that would have been better placement for them I believe than their current location, but then again we’d have two burger joints on Fairfax Drive within a block of one another.

    I feel like Ballston could turn into a Clarendon one day, but first revamp would have to be to change the stores in the mall.

    • UnlimitedCustoms

      Everytime I go by the burger place on fairfax next to 7-11 it is empty.

    • John

      More like tear down the mall. Or at least open it up to the elements to create something like the center city DC project which is under construction. Maybe then Ballston will get an American Apparel and then we can all buy those 80s-era socks with the stripes. Ballston Commons will never ever compete as an enclosed mall with Tysons and Pentagon City. Even “healthy” malls like White Flint Mall are struggling and losing tenants.

  • R

    Give me a hot pastrami on rye with some deli mustard the size of my head like they give you at Carnegie in Manahattan and I’ll gladly pay the ridiculous prices. Add some decent matzo ball soup and I’d be in heaven.

  • info81

    The problem is ownership, the owner needs to be in the restaurant for many years to get the thing going. You can’t set up two or three locations and expect to preserve quality. The owner has to be in the shop every day, all day. You can’t just train people for a few hours and let them go at it. I have seen that too many times around here, people just chasing dollars.
    It took Ben’s chili bowl decades to really get rolling. Ballston has lots of potential, so many hungry people walking around. I am willing to try any restaurant around there once.

    • John Andre

      Why not a Ben’s Chili Bowl branch in Ballston??? Now that would be something! Boy, the mall is starting to appear rather tacky…there’s not even a pizza place any more!

  • John Andre

    What we really need in Ballston is a replacement for the “Market to Market” buffet which shut down in the mall and never reopened. Something like the Great American Buffet or another Blimpie would be welcome.

  • kckid

    I always enjoy reading these blogs!

    I agree with most about the city having pretentiously expensive restaurants. I maybe wrong, but this is a young city in terms of its culinary roots and really nothing is from here… just what its temporary residents bring with them and those that peddle their power lunches and exclusive dining experiences. Half-smokes? Okay, but what else is this city known for? What this city does have is some excellent and cheap ethnic restaurants that I have come to adore. Coming from the land of bbq and steaks, I have been pleasantly surprised by these simple but tasty foods from the world. That is where I spend my money… good eating everyone…

  • Daily Deli


    Thank you guys for creating a buzz about our restaurant before it is even open. I would like to apologize for not reading all the comments, but I just wanted to respond by saying we will be getting our meats from the famed Carnegie deli in NY and our portions will hopefully exceed all expectations, along with everything else. I will read everything and answer as many questions as I can in my next post. Any recommendations are appreciated as well. Sorry for keeping this short, all my time is being put into opening.

    Thanks again,

  • My review of Daily Deli will be on dcfud.com in about 10 hours. 🙂

  • William

    Celebrity Delly is the BEST deli !!! It is family-owned and been around for years.


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