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REVIEW: Freedom Rings at Full Belly Deli (Subscriber Content)

By Kyle Young
Published: Last Updated on

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Full Belly Deli lives up to its name by serving generous portions with its sandwiches, subs, wraps, burritos and salads. Co-owners, Eric Barton and Tom Marrin, make good use of high-quality produce, house-made breads and all-natural meats. Emphases on creativity, good food and a little humor go a long way in creating a premium, but not pretentious, sandwich experience.

The (Creative) Juice Is Loose at Full Belly Deli

I love a restaurant that doesn’t shy away from its own personality. There are so many opportunities for restaurant owners and staffs to create memorable, personable experiences for diners. There is always room in the food, branding and decor for fun. Some restaurants go overkill in this regard with unnatural, forced themes (think Bubba Gump Shrimp Company), while many others fail to make any sort of impression.

Full Belly Deli embraces food and fun in a variety of subtle, enjoyable ways.

Ice-T and Ice Cube on iced tea dispenser

A drink that maintains law and order at Full Belly Deli. Image: Kyle Young

The breakfast section of their menu includes Green Eggs & Ham ($6.95). The dish features eggs, pesto, black forest ham and Swiss on the diner’s choice of bread. Also adding some flavor to the breakfast section is the GNAR Burrito ($7.50), which includes house-made tri-tip, Pepper Jack cheese, green chile, hash browns, southwest sauce and a fried egg. Did I mention the biscuits and gravy burrito?

The hot sandwiches section of the menu could easily be labeled as such, but Barton and Marrin chose to call it the Junkyard instead. Within the Junkyard lives the Dirka Dirka ($9.95), a hot sandwich featuring corned beef, pastrami, pickles, yellow mustard, Swiss cheese and jalapeño coleslaw.

To combat the bottle-necking that can occur during the lunch rush, blue foot prints adorn the floor in front of the ordering area to gently guide diners down the right path.

If you aren’t sold on the “live, laugh and eat” atmosphere, grab yourself a tall glass of Ice-T.

Real Big, Real Good Sandwiches

Natasia Ford, Assistant Manager of Full Belly Deli, gave me and my wife the lowdown on the menu.

She advised that all the meats are currently procured from Sierra Meat & Seafood. Full Belly Deli only orders nitrate, hormone and antibiotic-free meats, because among other things, these meats just taste better than the alternatives.

The house-made breads include french hoagie, wheat hoagie, jalapeño cheddar, Parmesan oregano, blue cheese and asiago. Other breads are also available from local favorite, Truckee Sourdough Company.

New specials are available daily, including sandwiches, burritos and soups. The soups of the day when my wife and I went were roasted red pepper and tomato bisque, chicken noodle and pork chile verde.

Soup and Sicilian sandwich from Full Belly Deli

Cherish the cheese and jalapeños. Image: Kyle Young

My wife ordered the Sicilian sub sandwich ($9.95). I ordered the Dirka Dirka ($9.95) (hot) sandwich and a small order of the roasted red pepper and tomato bisque ($5).

The kitchen served the soup piping hot. The roasted red peppers and cream created wonderful flavor and mouthfeel. The soup had a mostly smooth texture, and the occasional tomato chunk reminded me that it was house-made. A nice variety of spices gave the soup a small kick. I loved it, and hope to find it on their menu again.

The Sicilian sandwich included pepperoni, black forest ham, salami, pepperoncini, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo and Dijon mustard. My wife opted for the house-made jalapeño cheddar bread. The salt of the cured meats went really well with the other fixin’s. The produce was crisp and tasted fresh. The heat and crunch from the bread were excellent. The overall sandwich was a little meat-dominant for my taste. I would have enjoyed more pepperoncinis, tomatoes and onion. A bit more of the mayo and mustard wouldn’t have hurt either. Full disclosure, I enjoy vegetable and sauce-heavy sandwiches. My wife added a bit more mustard to the sandwich at home to elevate it from great to outstanding.

My Dirka Dirka sandwich, one of the restaurant’s most popular, did not disappoint. The corned beef and pastrami were tender and flavorful, although it was difficult to differentiate between the two types of meat with each bite. The acidity from the mustard and dill pickles were great against the salt of the Swiss cheese and salt-cured and brined/smoked meats. The jalapeños in the bread and slaw added some bite. The house-made bread really stood out with a crisp exterior and delicate interior. I thought the sandwich was really well crafted, and I’m eager to eat it again.

Even with a robust appetite, I’d say the sandwiches at Full Belly Deli include two servings. Next time, I plan to capitalize on their soup or chili with 1/2 salad or 1/2 sandwich for $10.95. The soup is wonderful, but if you’re looking for an even leaner meal, you can purchase any half-sandwich for only $6.

Full Belly Deli Details

Visit Fully Belly Deli in Truckee at 10825 Pioneer Trail #103, Truckee, CA 96161 or at the Reno location at 3064 Mill St, Reno, NV 89502. The Reno location is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The Reno location is closed on Sundays. Give the Reno location a call at 775-657-8448. Scope the menu online at eatfullbellydeli.com.