River City Deli: A Taste of New York in Fort Smith | Restaurants
A mother and son originally from Pittsburgh, PA and now settled in the south, have opened a New York City style delicatessen in Fort Smith. And it all began with a trip to the races.
The River City Deli located in Stonewood Village has been open less than a month. But with a full menu of appetizers, (or as they call it, ‘a little nosh’) scoopable salads, corned beef, pastrami and other meats “to-go” by the pound, and fresh cheesecake, there’s no way this place won’t become your new favorite hangout.
Co-owner Jason Haid says he and his mother came up with the idea to open a deli in Arkansas after seeing crowds standing in line for corned beef at Oaklawn Racing in Hot Springs. They decided to see if their family recipes for specialty sandwiches and potato latkes were worth sharing with the River Valley. (And we’re glad they did!)
A few Channel 5 staffers decided to check out the place on a Saturday night. Our always smiling server J.D. welcomed us with plates of dill pickles and pickled green tomatoes. (Think Bread & Butter, kind of sweet and super crispy. Awesome.)
The menu is huge, it was hard to narrow it down to a few items and not over indulge.
We chose the Lox and Cream Cheese Spread as our “nosh.” It is delicious smoked salmon mixed with cream cheese served on thin sliced homemade bagel chips.
Amanda and I split the Rotisserie Chicken, lightly seasoned and basted to perfection. Fresh. Hot. Melts-in-your-mouth chicken. For our two sides, we chose the “veggie of the day” which happened to be zucchini cooked in garlic and onions and a bowl of fresh fruit. (We try to keep it healthy. ;-) ) Our plate also came out with a few potato latkes. These crispy potato pancake bites made me definitely want to get them as an appetizer next time!
We also split a Caprese Salad, sliced tomatoes, onions and FRESH mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar. How often do you find fresh mozzarella around here?? Savory and light, a meal in itself.
Ben, another 5NEWS producer, ordered the patty melt with fries. The burger topped with grilled onions and swiss cheese on marble rye came with fries, coleslaw and a pickle. It looked really good. Couldn’t tell you what it tasted like. Ben declined to share and devoured it instead!
There are about 10 specialty sandwiches including a Rueben and a Pittsburgh Cheese Steak, as well as open-faced sandwiches. If you’re looking for something lighter, they also offer salads such as the River City Cobb Salad or the Greek Salad tossed with their lemon-based vinaigrette. They also serve made-from-scratch Chicken Noodle Soup, Matzo Ball Soup and Italian Wedding Soup using old recipes from Grandma!
I’ve heard their Corned Beef Hash is life-changing. Haid suggests having it served up with two eggs on top. I’m really looking forward to trying the Stuffed Cabbage, which he says will be available soon. They’re still tweaking the recipe, just a little.
And if you love pasta, my suggestion is the Tetrazinni, a combination of seasoned chicken and turkey over spaghetti baked in a white wine sauce.
Haid says they hope to soon be able to serve beer and wine in the casual restaurant. They also offer a Sunday brunch.
It’s nice to have an option on that side of town that’s not another chain and not fast-food. It’s the home-cooked comfort food that us southerners love, but with a fresh NYC flair. If you work on that side of town, looking for somewhere new to meet friends or have a quick family dinner, then the River City Deli is the place.
7320 Rogers Avenue, Suite 7
Mon - Sat: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sun: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.