Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - May 3, 2013

Made with care

Roger's Deli & Donuts serves up good deals with a personal touch

by Sheila Himmel

A woman walks into a restaurant. "It smells so good in here!" she says to her friends, spreading the love of Roger's Deli & Donuts.

As far as food goes, the Whisman area of North Mountain View is no Castro Street, and certainly no Google. There's nothing cool about it. Roger's attracts a multicultural clientele of soldiers from Moffett Field, scruffy tech workers from nearby office parks, elderly and very young neighbors. Strollers and walkers are easy to maneuver around the fleet of outdoor tables, shaded by umbrellas or overhangs. Indoor seats are not uncomfortable.

Open from the crack of dawn to just before dinner, Roger's serves up quality, value and an all-around pleasant experience. People who work there evidently care about they're doing.

At a busy lunch hour, all the counter staff were friendly and efficient. My companion asked about water, because the dispenser was empty, and within minutes it was replaced.

Breakfast starts at 5 a.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. on weekends, and goes all day. If you want breakfast just before dinner, this is the place to go. The one tricky thing is that there's a separate line, marked by a small sign: "Please order bagel, croissant sandwich, omelette here." A cheese omelet is $5.50; blueberry pancakes are $6.25.

Instead of microwaving, which turns bread products to mush, at Roger's they toast sandwiches to order. A breakfast croissant is hot and flaky, with crispy edges. And cheap: Scrambled egg, avocado and the melted cheese of your choice on a house-baked croissant will set you back $3.95.

Rolls and breads are baked daily, as are the donuts ($1 each, $10 a dozen). Tracy Lam inherited the name from the previous owner back in 1995. A menu still lists sandwiches as Roger's Favorites, whoever Roger was.

The homemade meatball sandwich on an asiago roll ($6.20) was bland but generous. More of the fresh tomato sauce would have done the trick. Regulars ordered lots of tuna, turkey, Reuben and salami sandwiches. Build your own submarine sandwich on rolls ranging from Dutch crunch to poppy seed to sourdough, plus seven choices of cheese.

Vegetarians find lots of options, including a garden burger and a veggie sandwich.

As with the rest of the menu, drinks are large, varied and reasonably priced. A 12-ounce fountain soda is 89 cents. Roger's also has espresso drinks, Thai iced tea and iced coffee, and a huge cold case of juices and other beverages.

Does Roger's do everything well? Maybe not everything. But the food is fresh, and the place is run by a real person, not a marketing plan. It's been working well, going on 19 years.

Roger's Deli & Donuts

295 E. Middlefield Road, Mountain View

650-965-2204

Hours: 5 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.; 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.

Reservations: no

Credit cards: yes

Parking: adjacent lot

Alcohol: no

Highchairs: yes

Outdoor dining: yes

Party and banquet facilities: no

Catering: yes

Takeout: yes

Noise level: fine

Bathroom cleanliness: fair

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