While the exact origin of a dish is often unsettled, few would dispute that the Reuben was born in the USA. Some say it was created by a Jewish grocer in Omaha in the early 20th century who would request a specific corned beef sandwich during his weekly poker game at the Blackstone Hotel. Others credit it to a Jewish delicatessen owner in Manhattan. Whatever its roots, the sandwich has come to dominate menus at delis and casual restaurants across the country.
Here in Charlottesville, many restaurants make riffs on a Reuben, some substituting pastrami, turkey, smoked brisket, or even tofu. Among those that still use the original corned beef is Holly’s Diner. Every community needs a place like Holly’s, a come-as-you-are joint where everyone feels welcome and the kitchen staff actually care about the food they make. The care with which Holly’s kitchen prepares its Reuben has earned the sandwich a devout following. House-made Thousand Island Dressing coats warm thin sliced corned beef, sauerkraut and a slice of Swiss cheese on soft marble rye. As a bonus, on Wednesdays a mere $9 can get you the stellar sandwich and a side of Holly’s delicious fries.
#19: Reuben – Holly’s Diner
The Charlottesville 29 of Sandwiches
Others of Note: Reuben at Taste Shack (GFA), House Corned Beef at Market Street Market, Reuben at The Villa Diner, Reuben at South Street Brewery (GFA); Vegetarian Alternative: Tofu Reuben at Kitchene(ette) (GFA)