117 Watchung Avenue
See my post with pictures here.
One day last year at the Watchung Deli, at the request of a student from a nearby school, Ben Gualano piled mac-and-cheese onto a chicken cutlet sub with barbecue sauce and bacon, squeezed it shut somehow, and the Benny Mac was born. “Now the kids from Montclair High and the ones from M.K.A. are fighting over whose idea it was,” one of the deli’s owners, Gary Kiffer, said with satisfaction, referring to the local public and private schools.
The Watchung, in business since 1926, has stayed true to the deli’s German roots, producing endangered species like German cucumber salad, egg custard in little foil cups and macaroni and cheese from scratch every day. It also carries an ample stock of Tastykakes, including hard-to-find Butterscotch Krimpets.
The Benny Mac may still be a work in progress, from a strictly epicurean point of view: the mac could be cheesier, the roll crunchier, the cutlet more flavorful. But it is more than a sandwich. It’s a full-body experience — like a mud bath, but with extra ooze. One taster said afterward, “There was bacon in there?”
April 30, 2008