At the Old Market Deli, the Presidential is a turkey sandwich with white cheddar, avocado, roasted red pepper, aioli, and sprouts. It became the “Presidential” when President Obama ordered it during a stop at Cannon Falls in August 2011.
No matter how you voted yesterday (you did vote, didn’t you?), you can only conclude that the president got this one wrong. He ordered it on wheat (wouldn’t marble rye have been a nice change?) and he ordered it cold. You definitely want this sandwich hot — seared in the panini press so the bread gets crunchy and the cheese starts to melt.
The turkey on the Presidential ($8) comes from about a mile down the road, from Ferndale Market, where the Peterson family raises free-range birds. It’s lightly smoked and sliced thin as chiffon. The sprouts are fresh, sweet, crunchy, and piled on so thick it’s like having lunch at a 1960s commune.
The chips alongside the sandwich are cut noticeably thicker than the turkey and fried right here at the deli, cooked until they’re deeply brown. These are so addictive that the deli has wisely made up to-go bags of chips for sale at the counter.
While the chips are very good, the sweet potato fries are even better. Cut long and thin, they stay crispy while other sweet potato fries quickly go limp. These go nicely with a bison burger ($10), a charred patty that tastes of smoke from the grill but is still juicy on the inside. It takes a little deconstruction work to eat it, though: You can get it in your mouth with either the iceberg lettuce or the onion rings still on top, but not both. (It could do without the honey barbecue sauce, which reminded us of mediocre supermarket Italian dressing.)
Old Market Deli is a sparkly clean and friendly place, especially after a spiff-up in the spring. It’s also a sign of a healthy, happy, thriving little town on the Cannon River, as it fills up for breakfast and lunch with a mixture of business meetings and retirees (and mercifully few laptops). And when the president stops by, they can make him a local turkey sandwich to be proud of. Even if they’re too polite to tell him he should order it hot.
Old Market Deli
Breakfast and lunch in Cannon Falls
331 Mill St W
Cannon Falls, MN 55009
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No