A good deli counter offers more than mere cold cuts and sliced cheese. It’s also often the best sandwich spot in town and the place to go for all kinds of ready-to-heat prepared foods that make meal planning a breeze.
That’s why the deli department is such an essential stop for many shoppers making their way through the supermarket. Some grocery store delis are good enough to even rival your local deli shop, especially when they can compete on price.
The following grocery chains have some of the best deli counters around, providing both top-quality products and a diverse array of options that can make your life a little easier—and tastier.
Publix dominates the Southern U.S. thanks in large part to its famed deli counter. Beyond the usual fresh-cut meats and cheeses, the real magic comes in the form of “Pub Subs,” the Florida-based supermarket’s famous specialty sandwiches, available in many different varieties. Publix deli also serves up Southern specialties like fresh-made fried chicken. For a limited time this spring, the regional grocer is offering its own take on a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, made from the deli’s popular chicken tenders with a garlic, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar glaze. “No one can say it isn’t spicy,” a manager told WESH-TV.
A trip to Wegmans can sometimes feel more like a stroll through a European open-air market than it does a typical trip to the grocery store. That premium shopping experience doesn’t stop at the deli counter, where fans on Reddit rave about the fresh-made sub sandwiches, especially Danny’s Favorite. Made with salami, capicola, spicy ham, provolone, lettuce, and tomato, the store’s signature sub is named for the beloved East Coast grocery chain’s chairman, Danny Wegman, but its appeal is widespread. Wegmans deli carries its own private-label brand of meats and cheeses, but according to one Redditor, “the real MVP is their bread.”
The deli sandwiches at Sprouts became a viral sensation on social media last summer, thanks to their hefty size and low price of $4.99. Grocery Dive reports that the hashtag #sproutssandwich racked up over 10 million views on TikTok from shoppers posting photos of their deli grub. The deli fandom runs deep on Reddit too, with commenters praising the department’s convenience, prices, and quality. One Redditor wrote, “I find the meat and deli at Sprouts to be noticeably higher quality than standard supermarket.”
The midwestern grocery chain Meijer is a fan favorite among locals for many reasons. One is the deli counter, offering a robust selection of products from salads and party trays to take-and-bake pizzas, which rival that of any national supermarket. One fan on Reddit favorably compared the regional retailer to grocery giant Kroger, writing that Meijer’s “pre-shredded rotisserie chicken from the deli is so much better” and that its Dietz and Watson-brand meats are “just as good” as the Boar’s Head products at bigger chains.
5. Whole Foods
You might not think of Whole Foods first when considering which grocery store to pick up your next order of deli meat. After all, Whole Foods markets itself as your destination for all-natural groceries with little to no preservatives or artificial ingredients—sort of the antithesis of processed meat, which is often loaded with preservatives. But the retailer applies a lot of those same quality standards to its various deli items, and shoppers are willing to pay a premium for the difference. As one Redditor explains, “The Deli is a bit higher [in price] but it’s also fresher and not ‘old’.”
Dominating the state of Texas is H-E-B, the top-rated Dallas-based supermarket chain known for its house-made flour tortillas and abundance of local Lone Star State products. Its deli counter is no slouch, either, serving a variety of items including soups, salads, sandwiches and even sushi. Ready meals include regional specialties like H-E-B’s own house brand of tamales and chicken tortilla soup.
The Costco deli is, of course, home to the warehouse club’s most famous grocery item of all: the legendary $4.99 rotisserie chicken. But there’s a lot more to it, as well, including various premade meal kits for things like gyros, tacos, and beef bulgogi. With its wide array of intriguing offerings, Costco’s deli has become so popular on social media that it’s even beginning to outshine the club’s beloved bakery, which is saying a lot.