Delicatessen, bakery and restaurant, three great offerings from an old time favorite, Cecils, located in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul at 651 S. Cleveland Avenue. Much of my childhood through early parenthood was spent in Highland Park and during those years I often stopped by Cecils for one of their great sandwiches. Not much has changed at Cecils, some remodeling, maybe and expansion of parking and a few alterations of the menu is all I am able to remember. What definitely has not changed is the spectacular baked breads, the quality and variety of sandwiches, and the delicatessen’s great chopped chicken liver! Upon entering Cecils you immediately think of another time, maybe it’s the 60’s or maybe it’s the 50’s it doesn’t really matter. The fact is this small store, bakery, and deli is a throwback to the long gone corner grocery store. Only the necessities are left along with great deli meats, cold salads and bakery items. Head to the back and you will find the restaurant with no windows, many small tables and a crowd that fills this place constantly. Cecils is nostalgic and it works, established in 1949 something continues to be done very right.
On to the food and a quick tip, don’t order the fries and don’t over order! Remember, before you leave you must pass through the bakery and deli. I promise you won’t make it without a loaf or two and a couple of the salads! Sandwiches hot and cold, soups and salads, burgers and dogs, desserts and breakfast all are worth your effort. My favorite Sammy is the Fresser ordered with a side of creamy coleslaw and a side of potato salad, Cecil’s describes the sandwich as this “FRESSER · For the serious eater, a large 1/2 pound, three decker. Made with a combination of corned beef, turkey breast, pastrami, roast beef, caraway rye, russian rye, pumpernickel, and zesty sauce. What a sandwich!”
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
I have been a fan of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for many years however as my pallet has matured to enjoy a hoppier variety of beers, I seldom purchase this classic ale. Stop right here, Hoptimum at 100 bitterness units is an annual limited selection to the Sierra Nevada lineup, is difficult to find and is a pleasure to drink. If you are fortunate to find a four pack at Haskell’s or see it on tap at your favorite watering hole this one is a must for any hop lover. Details from SierraNevada.com are as follows:
A group of hop-heads and publicans challenged our Beer Camp brewers to push the extremes of whole-cone hop brewing. The result is this: a 100 IBU, whole-cone hurricane of flavor. Simply put —Hoptimum: the biggest whole-cone IPA we have ever produced. Aggressively hopped, dry-hopped, AND torpedoed with our exclusive new hop varieties for ultra-intense flavors and aromas.
Resinous “new-school” and exclusive hop varieties carry the bold and aromatic nose. The flavor follows the aroma with layers of aggressive hoppiness, featuring notes of grapefruit rind, rose, lilac, cedar, and tropical fruit—all culminating in a dry and lasting finish.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 10.4% BY VOLUME
BEGINNING GRAVITY: 22.8 PLATO
ENDING GRAVITY: 4.5 PLATO
BITTERNESS UNITS: 100
BITTERING HOPS: GERMAN MAGNUM
AROMA HOPS: SIMCOE & NEW PROPRIETARY VARIETY
DRY HOPS: SIMCOE & NEW PROPRIETARY VARIETY
TORPEDO HOPS: CITRA & CHINOOK
MALTS: TWO-ROW PALE, GOLDEN PROMISE, MUNICH & WHEAT