I worked at an American Eagle Outfitters in the mall for two years while in college. The only thing that kept me going during six-hour shifts were these chicken cheesesteak sandwiches from Charley’s Grilled Subs, in the food court. I would hunker in the stock room, drowning annoying customer needs in cheesy goodness. I work in downtown Tucson now, with no mall in sight (good riddance). Lucky for me, the best part of the mall still isn’t too far away.
Maynards Market and Deli is approximately one hop, four skips and a couple jumps away from my office. I frequently find myself here—usually because I forgot to eat breakfast, or didn’t pack lunch and have no time to head home for a meal. The lunch crowd is welcomed at Maynards, especially single diners: there’s bar seating with views of the kitchen, bar seating with views of people passing by, and an outside courtyard with small tables that gives you a front-row seat to thrilling, rushing, passing trains.
If it weren’t the ambiance and convenience, it would be the fantastic food that drew me here nearly every day. My usual breakfast order is an everything bagel with cream cheese, and a vanilla latte. Their menu lists far more exciting breakfast items—like the Cheddar Biscuit Sandwich, a house-made cheddar onion biscuit filled with scrambled eggs, white-cheddar cheese, your choice of sausage, bacon or country ham and your choice of hot pepper jelly or peppered gravy—but that’s not exactly eating-over-the-keyboard friendly.
For lunch, I used to get the Cubano, which has roasted pork, Applewood ham, spicy jalapeño, caramelized onion, dill pickles, Gruyere cheese and Dijon mustard, squished in an amoroso roll. I like their BLT, too; BLTs can be a little predictable, but Maynards really pumped up the classic with Applewood bacon, cracked pepper and yellow mustard on toasted sourdough. Oh yeah, then there’s the Tucson Chicken “Cheesesteak,” with spicy chicken, melty white cheddar cheese, bell peppers, onions and jalapeños. Is anyone surprised that multiple employees know my name? All sandwiches are served with a pickle, and there’s a big selection of drinks to chose from to accompany your meal.
If I have a REALLY BAD day at my job, and they’re rare, I’ll walk over to Maynards after work and browse their selection of craft beer and wine bottles. Then, I try not to make eye contact with my boss as I pass by his office on the way to my car to go home, six-pack in hand.