The Charlottesville 29

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Tag: Deli-Egg

Introducing the Deli-Egg Roll

When it comes to food, some people are just different. You think about your next meal during your current one. You perseverate for hours about lunch. In your day job as a pharmacist, you daydream of opening your own restaurant. Food is on your mind, always.

One recent Sunday night, when I should have been sleeping, I instead was thinking about food. I sent an email to Justin Vesser, the UVa pharmacist behind The Tennessean Steakhouse, the passion project he operates a few times a year for charity. I wrote: “I’ve never tried doing it, but you could be just the man for the job. Deli-Egg Rolls. The ingredients for a Bodo’s Deli-Egg (without the egg) inside an egg roll.” He replied the next morning: “Well if that’s not a ‘eureka moment,’ I don’t know what is. I’ll take it to the test kitchen.”

Fast forward two weeks, and voila.


Deli-Egg Rolls
by Justin Vesser

  • Approximately 1 lb. Bodo’s Deli Meats (Pastrami, Corned Beef, Ham, Salami, Capicola)
  • 4 slices each: Muenster, Aged Swiss, Provolone
  • 1 Tbsp Everything Bagel Spice
  • 1 Package Egg Roll Wrappers
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Peanut oil

Go to Bodo’s and order one plain bagel with pastrami, corned beef, ham, salami and capicola. It’s all going to get chopped up at home, so save one stroke and ask for it to be cut in half. Prepare to have the cashier give you the hairy eyeball, and to be judged by the person ordering next to you.

Finely mince all of the meat and cheese slices, and thoroughly mix with bagel spice in a large bowl.

Beat egg in a small bowl and use a brush or your fingers to wet the edges of an egg roll wrapper. Plop a generous amount of the deli mixture in the middle and fold one corner up over the mix. Fold each side in, pinching to make sure there is a good seal and finish by rolling over the remaining corner.

Heat oil in a dutch oven or deep pot  to 350 degrees.

Gently drop egg rolls into oil in small batches, turning frequently until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 2 minutes.

Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

A deli-egg needs egginess and creaminess, so I served it with a fresh hollandaise sauce for dipping.




Bodo’s Deli-Egg: Behind A Local Legend

Deli Egg 2

You’ve either never had a Deli-Egg at Bodo’s or you order one often.  At Charlottesville’s restaurant with the biggest cult following, it’s the sandwich with the biggest cult following.  But, even many  who are hooked on Deli-Eggs have never been entirely clear on what goes into them.

Wonder no more.  With help from talented photographer Justin Ide, Bodo’s recently took us behind-the-scenes to crack the Deli-Egg mystery. So, behold the glory of a sandwich that has not just made several appearances on Five Finds on Friday, but has become a local legend.  We like ours with American cheese on an Everything bagel, cut in half. But, we’re not going to tell anyone how to enjoy their Deli-Egg.

The Makings of a Deli-Egg

A Deli-Egg is essentially an omelet filled with diced scraps of deli meats and cheeses.  It’s a cunning way to use the tail ends of the meats that it would be too hard to slice for sandwiches.  Bodo’s version includes pastrami, corned beef, ham, capicola, and salami.  They also add three cheeses, again diced: provolone, Swiss, and Muenster.

First, dice the meats and cheeses.


The results of all that dicing are the Deli mix, ready for use:


When someone orders a Deli-Egg, pour some of Bodo’s freshly made egg mixture onto a hot griddle, and add a “generous handful of Deli mix,” as Bodo’s co-owner Scott Smith puts it:

Cook 1

Cook the egg together with the Deli mix:

Cook 2

Then, fold the egg over to create a tidy, delicious package:

Place the omelet on a freshly baked bagel, and the masterpiece is complete:


All that’s left to do is grab one, and dig in.

Grab One

The Deli-Egg is so beloved that it has even inspired poetry over the years.  Co-owner Scott Smith’s haiku, circa 1999:

you wait, plumes of steam
brief heralds to crumbs of meat,
upon everything



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