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'It's a St. Louis thing' Blues City Deli continues to hit a high note after 17 years

Blues City Deli has been hitting a high note with customers since 2004.

ST. LOUIS — Owner Vinnie Valenza combined his love of food, music, and New Orleans into a sandwich shop that's become a local favorite.

He said, “People are very intelligent. If you try to slide in some cheap meat, they know. You can't do it to save a dime, you gotta go with the good ingredients.”

For example, the bread is from Vitale's and Breadsmith, depending on the sandwich. One of the newer sandwiches on the menu is called the Big V.

“We have Volpi products in here also. They have Hot Supressa. A different profile, spicy. We put mortadella on it, Capacolla and fresh mozzarella. It’s different on the pallet and people seem to like it,” he said.

The Feisty Tuna is a sandwich created by customers.

“Local musicians did that. The Rum Drum Ramblers. They would come here all the time. It’s a spicy version of our tuna with homemade tuna, hot peppers, and delta sauce,” Valenza said.

Blues City Deli recently spruced up their dining room to include a painting of sheet music on the wall by artist Phil Jarvass. The sheet music is the song “St. Louis Blues” by W C Handy. Music is part of the recipe here, as Valenza will tell you. Even though live music inside the deli is on hold for now due to the pandemic, plans for some outdoor events with music are in the works.

Blues City Deli loves its customers, who help inspire the menu, and customers love Blues City Deli. We even met a customer picking up a sandwich to put in a cooler and bring on a plane to a friend.

She said, “It’s a St. Louis thing. You can’t get this stuff anywhere else. That’s all he requested and a deli sandwich I shall bring.”

The line is usually long but the it's worth the wait.

“We never see the line, we just know there’s people here… but we just go with it,” said Valenza.

 Blues City Deli is located at 2438 McNair Ave, St. Louis, MO 63104.

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