Table of Contents
If you are looking for a place to enjoy delicious sandwiches, salads, spuds, soups, and more, you might want to check out McAlister’s Deli. McAlister’s Deli is a fast-casual restaurant chain that offers a variety of menu items made with fresh and quality ingredients. Whether you are a food enthusiast, a casual diner, or a McAlister’s Deli aficionado, you will find something to satisfy your taste buds and your budget at McAlister’s Deli.
But McAlister’s Deli is more than just a place to eat. It is also a place where you can experience comfort, convenience, and community. From its inviting ambiance and decor to its customer-centric service and philanthropy, McAlister’s Deli strives to make every visit a memorable one. McAlister’s Deli also has a rich history and legacy that dates back to 1989, when it was founded by a retired dentist in Oxford, Mississippi. Since then, it has grown and expanded to over 400 locations across 28 states in the United States.
In this article, we will take you on a culinary journey through the delightful world of McAlister’s Deli. We will explore its menu, ambiance, experience, community impact, and more. We will also give you some tips and recommendations on how to navigate its menu, accommodate your dietary needs, and enjoy its regional favorites and specials. By the end of this article, you will have a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about McAlister’s Deli.
The McAlister’s Experience
One of the reasons why people love McAlister’s Deli is because of its amazing food and drinks. McAlister’s Deli offers a variety of culinary delights that cater to different tastes and preferences. Whether you are in the mood for a hearty sandwich, a warm soup, a fresh salad, or a refreshing beverage, you will find something to please your palate at McAlister’s Deli.
McAlister’s Deli is famous for its signature sandwiches, which are made with premium meats, cheeses, and breads. Some of the most popular sandwiches are:
- The McAlister’s Club: A classic club sandwich with smoked turkey, black forest ham, bacon, sharp cheddar, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and honey mustard on sliced wheat bread.
- The Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap: A grilled chicken breast with romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing wrapped in a wheat tortilla.
- Spud Max: A giant baked potato loaded with ham, turkey, bacon, cheddar-jack cheese, green onions, black olives, and sour cream.
If you are looking for something lighter or more nutritious, you can also try McAlister’s Deli’s savory soups and salads. Some of the most popular soups and salads are:
- Tomato Basil Soup: A creamy tomato soup with basil and Parmesan cheese.
- Harvest Chicken Salad: A mix of spring lettuce, grilled chicken, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola cheese, honey-roasted almonds, tomatoes, and cucumbers with sherry shallot dressing.
- Southwest Cobb Salad: A mix of romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, avocado, corn salsa, black beans, tomatoes, cheddar-jack cheese, and tortilla chips with chipotle ranch dressing.
No meal at McAlister’s Deli is complete without a drink. McAlister’s Deli is famous for its sweet tea, which is brewed fresh every day with filtered water and pure cane sugar. You can enjoy it plain or with lemon or peach flavor.
But if tea is not your cup of tea, you can also choose from other beverages at McAlister’s Deli. Some of the most popular beverages are:
- Lemonades and beyond McAlister’s Deli offers a variety of lemonades that are made with real fruit juice and natural flavors. You can choose from classic lemonade, strawberry lemonade, blueberry lemonade, or mango lemonade. You can also try other fruit drinks like cranberry apple juice or orange juice.
- Handcrafted sodas: McAlister’s Deli offers a variety of sodas that are made with natural cane sugar and natural flavors. You can choose from cola, diet cola, root beer, ginger ale, cream soda, or black cherry soda.
McAlister’s Deli: Where Comfort Meets Cuisine
McAlister’s Deli is not only about food and drinks. It is also about creating a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience for its customers. From its inviting ambiance and decor to its customer-centric service and community involvement, McAlister’s Deli strives to make every visit a memorable one.
Some of the features that make McAlister’s Deli stand out are:
- Inviting ambiance and decor: McAlister’s Deli has a cozy and casual atmosphere that makes you feel at home. The restaurant is decorated with warm colors, wooden furniture, and vintage photos. The restaurant also has free Wi-Fi and outlets for your convenience.
- Customer-centric service: McAlister’s Deli values its customers and treats them like family. The staff is friendly, attentive, and helpful. The restaurant also offers online ordering, catering services, delivery options, and rewards programs for loyal customers.
- Community involvement and philanthropy: McAlister’s Deli cares about its community and supports various causes and organizations. The restaurant participates in local events and fundraisers. The restaurant also has a program called McAlister’s Gives Back, which allows customers to donate their change to a selected charity every month.
A Glimpse Behind the Scenes
McAlister’s Deli is not only a place to enjoy great food and drinks, but also a place to learn about its history and culture. McAlister’s Deli has a rich legacy that dates back to 1989, when it was founded by a retired dentist in Oxford, Mississippi. McAlister’s Deli also has a high standard of culinary craftsmanship that ensures the quality and freshness of its ingredients, the innovation and experimentation of its menu, and the adherence to customer feedback and preferences.
The McAlister’s Legacy
McAlister’s Deli was founded by Dr. Don Newcomb, a retired dentist who had a vision to turn an abandoned movie-set diner into a small, yet charming, neighborhood restaurant and gathering place. That vision became a reality when the first McAlister’s Deli opened its doors in 1989 in Oxford, Mississippi. The original restaurant was started in a renovated gas station, and many of the elements of that original look are present in many McAlister’s Delis built today, such as a garage door and nostalgic black-and-white tile.
The deli originally opened under the name Checker’s and was later changed to McAlister’s. The menu then would still feel familiar today packed with the craveable sandwiches, spuds and salads we’re known for – and of course our famous McAlister’s Sweet Tea. The deli also had a unique feature called “call-backs”, where customers would write their names on a chalkboard and wait for their orders to be called out by the staff.
Since its inception, McAlister’s Deli has grown and expanded to over 500 locations across 29 states. The deli has also diversified its menu offerings to include more soups, salads, desserts, catering items, and beverages. The deli has also embraced technology and convenience by offering online ordering, delivery options, rewards programs, and digital menus.
Through all these changes, McAlister’s Deli has remained true to its founding principles: serving handcrafted food and delicious sweet tea that is simple and satisfying – for every palette, even mom’s pickiest eater; creating a cozy and casual atmosphere that makes customers feel at home; and caring about its community and supporting various causes and organizations.
The Culinary Craftsmanship
McAlister’s Deli takes pride in its culinary craftsmanship, which is reflected in its food quality, menu innovation, and customer satisfaction. McAlister’s Deli follows these practices to ensure its culinary excellence:
Fresh, quality ingredients:
McAlister’s Deli uses fresh and quality ingredients for its menu items. The deli sources its ingredients from local vendors whenever possible, such as its produce, meats, cheeses, and breads. The deli also uses genuine Idaho Russet Potatoes for its spuds, Rainforest Alliance Certified black tea leaves for its sweet tea, and pure cane sugar for its sweeteners.
Culinary innovation and experimentation:
McAlister’s Deli is always looking for new ways to delight its customers with new flavors and combinations. The deli has a team of chefs who constantly research and test new recipes and concepts for its menu. The deli also launches seasonal specialties and limited-time offers to keep its menu fresh and exciting.
Adherence to customer feedback:
McAlister’s Deli values its customers’ opinions and preferences. The deli listens to customer feedback through various channels, such as surveys, reviews, social media, and focus groups. The deli also offers customization options for its menu items, such as adding or removing ingredients, choosing dressings or sauces, or selecting portion sizes.
The McAlister’s Experience Beyond the Plate
McAlister’s Deli is not only a place to enjoy great food and drinks, but also a place to make a positive difference in the world. McAlister’s Deli is committed to engaging with its local communities and supporting various causes and organizations. McAlister’s Deli is also committed to sustainability efforts and reducing its environmental impact. McAlister’s Deli believes that by doing good, it can also do well.
McAlister’s Deli values its local communities and strives to be a good neighbor and partner. McAlister’s Deli engages with its communities in various ways, such as:
- Local partnerships and events: McAlister’s Deli partners with local schools, churches, non-profits, and other organizations to support their missions and goals. McAlister’s Deli participates in local events and fundraisers, such as charity 5ks, festivals, fairs, and more.
- McAlister’s Gives Back program: McAlister’s Deli has a program called McAlister’s Gives Back, which allows customers to donate their change to a selected charity every month. The program supports national and local causes, such as Meals on Wheels America, No Kid Hungry, American Cancer Society, and more.
- Impact on neighborhoods: McAlister’s Deli has a positive impact on the neighborhoods where it operates. McAlister’s Deli creates jobs, stimulates the economy, attracts customers, and enhances the quality of life for its residents.
McAlister’s Deli is also conscious of its environmental impact and takes steps to reduce it. McAlister’s Deli follows these practices to be more eco-friendly:
- Eco-friendly practices: McAlister’s Deli uses eco-friendly practices in its operations, such as energy-efficient lighting, water-saving faucets, recycling bins, compostable packaging, and reusable cups.
- Responsible sourcing: McAlister’s Deli sources its ingredients from responsible suppliers who follow ethical and environmental standards. McAlister’s Deli uses Rainforest Alliance Certified tea leaves for its sweet tea, which means they are grown in a way that protects the environment and the workers.
- Waste reduction initiatives: McAlister’s Deli aims to reduce its waste and minimize its carbon footprint. McAlister’s Deli donates its surplus food to local food banks or composts it. McAlister’s Deli also encourages its customers to bring their own reusable bags or containers when ordering takeout or delivery.
Navigating the McAlister’s Menu
McAlister’s Deli has a diverse and delicious menu that can satisfy any appetite and preference. However, with so many options to choose from, you might feel overwhelmed or confused about what to order. Don’t worry, we are here to help you. In this section, we will give you some tips and recommendations on how to navigate the McAlister’s menu, whether you are looking for the best combinations, customization options, seasonal specialties, or dietary accommodations.
Menu Tips and Recommendations
If you are not sure what to order at McAlister’s Deli, here are some suggestions that can help you make the best decision:
McAlister’s Deli has a “Choose 2” option that allows you to combine any two half portions of sandwiches, salads, spuds, or soups. This is a great way to try different flavors and textures without overeating or overspending. Some of the must-try combinations are:
- Southwest Turkey Melt & Southwest Vegetable Soup: A spicy and cheesy sandwich with roasted turkey, bacon, pepper jack cheese, chipotle ranch dressing, and tomato on ciabatta bread paired with a hearty and healthy soup with black beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies, and cilantro1.
- Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap & Fire Roasted Vegetable Soup: A classic and satisfying wrap with grilled chicken breast, romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing in a wheat tortilla paired with a smoky and savory soup with roasted red peppers, zucchini, squash, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and garlic.
- Harvest Chicken Salad Sandwich & Tomato Bisque: A sweet and crunchy sandwich with chicken salad made with fresh apples, grapes, pecans, celery, and mayo on a croissant paired with a creamy and tangy soup with tomato puree, basil, cream, and Parmesan cheese.
McAlister’s Deli offers a variety of customization options for its menu items. You can add or remove ingredients, choose dressings or sauces, or select portion sizes according to your taste and preference. For example:
- Sandwiches: You can choose from different types of pieces of bread (such as wheat berry bread, ciabatta bread, baguette bread), cheeses (such as Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, blue cheese), meats (such as smoked turkey, black forest ham, roast beef), and veggies (such as lettuce, tomato, onion). You can also add extras like bacon or avocado for an additional charge.
- Salads: You can choose from different types of greens (such as romaine lettuce, spring mix), proteins (such as grilled chicken breast, blackened shrimp), toppings (such as dried cranberries, honey roasted almonds), and dressings (such as sherry shallot dressing, chipotle ranch dressing). You can also add extras like bacon or avocado for an additional charge.
- Spuds: You can choose from different types of potatoes (such as baked potato or sweet potato), cheeses (such as cheddar-jack cheese or blue cheese), meats (such as ham or bacon), and veggies (such as green onions or roasted red peppers). You can also add extras like sour cream or butter for an additional charge.
McAlister’s Deli also offers seasonal specialties that are available for a limited time only. These are usually inspired by the flavors and ingredients of the season. Some of the seasonal specialties are:
- Fall: Pumpkin Spice Latte (a warm and cozy drink with espresso, milk, pumpkin spice syrup), Autumn Squash Soup (a creamy and sweet soup with butternut squash puree), Harvest Turkey Salad Sandwich (a festive sandwich with turkey salad made with cranberries and pecans on cranberry orange bread).
- Winter: Peppermint Mocha Latte (a festive drink with espresso, milk, chocolate syrup), Chicken Pot Pie Soup (a comforting soup with chicken breast chunks), Turkey Cranberry Sandwich (a holiday sandwich with roasted turkey breast slices on cranberry orange bread).
- Spring: Strawberry Lemonade Tea (a refreshing drink with sweet tea mixed with strawberry lemonade), Garden Fresh Turkey Sandwich (a light sandwich with roasted turkey breast slices on multigrain bread).
- Summer: Watermelon Tea (a refreshing drink with sweet tea mixed with watermelon puree), BLT & Avocado Sandwich (a classic sandwich with bacon slices on country white bread).
McAlister’s Deli: A Culinary Journey
McAlister’s Deli is not only a place to enjoy great food and drinks, but also a place to discover new flavors and cultures. McAlister’s Deli has a diverse and dynamic menu that reflects the regional tastes and inspirations of its locations. McAlister’s Deli also has a strong presence and influence in popular culture, as it has been featured in various media and entertainment platforms, endorsed by celebrities, and recognized as a cultural icon.
McAlister’s Deli has over 500 locations across 29 states, each with its own unique charm and character. While the core menu remains consistent across all locations, some locations also offer specials that are unique to their regions. These specials are usually inspired by the local tastes and preferences of the customers, as well as the availability and seasonality of the ingredients. Some of the regional favorites are:
- Southwest: In states like Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, McAlister’s Deli offers dishes that have a spicy and smoky flavor, such as the Southwest Turkey Melt, the Southwest Chicken & Avocado Salad, and the Southwest Cobb Salad. These dishes feature ingredients like pepper jack cheese, chipotle ranch dressing, corn salsa, black beans, avocado, and tortilla chips.
- Midwest: In states like Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, McAlister’s Deli offers dishes that have a hearty and comforting flavor, such as the Chicken Pot Pie Soup, the French Dip Sandwich, and the Harvest Turkey Salad Sandwich. These dishes feature ingredients like chicken breast chunks, roast beef slices, cranberry orange bread, pecans, and cranberries.
- Southeast: In states like Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, McAlister’s Deli offers dishes that have a fresh and fruity flavor, such as the Watermelon Tea, the Garden Fresh Turkey Sandwich, and the Strawberry Shortcake. These dishes feature ingredients like watermelon puree, multigrain bread, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and shortbread cookies.
McAlister’s Deli also has different beverage preferences depending on the region. For example, in the South, sweet tea is more popular than unsweetened tea. In some regions, customers also prefer flavored teas or lemonades over plain ones.
McAlister’s in Popular Culture
McAlister’s Deli is not only a place to eat, but also a place to see and be seen. McAlister’s Deli has been referenced in various media and entertainment platforms, such as movies, TV shows, books, podcasts, and blogs. Some of the examples are:
- Movies: In the movie Heart of Dixie (1989), which starred Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club), Virginia Madsen (Swamp Thing), and Phoebe Cates (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), the original McAlister’s Deli location in Oxford was used as a filming location for a 1950s diner. The movie was set in Alabama during the civil rights movement.
- TV Shows: In the TV show The Office (2005-2013), which starred Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), John Krasinski (A Quiet Place), and Jenna Fischer (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story), McAlister’s Deli was mentioned several times as one of the favorite lunch spots of the characters. The show was set in Pennsylvania and followed the lives of the employees of a paper company.
- Books: In the book The Hate U Give (2017), which was written by Angie Thomas (On The Come Up) and adapted into a movie in 2018 starring Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) and K.J. Apa (Riverdale), McAlister’s Deli was mentioned as one of the places where the main character Starr Carter liked to hang out with her friends. The book was set in Mississippi and dealt with issues of racism and police brutality.
- Podcasts: In the podcast Crime Junkie (2017-present), which is hosted by Ashley Flowers (Full Body Chills) and Brit Prawat (Supernatural), McAlister’s Deli was mentioned as one of the sponsors of the show. The podcast covers true crime stories from around the world.
- Blogs: In the blog Southern Plate (2008-present), which is written by Christy Jordan (Come Home to Supper), McAlister’s Deli was featured as one of her favorite places to eat with her family. The blog shares recipes and stories from her Southern heritage.
McAlister’s Deli popular among celebrities
McAlister’s Deli is also popular among celebrities, who often visit the restaurants or endorse the brand. Some of the celebrities who have been spotted at McAlister’s Deli or have expressed their love for the brand are:
- Taylor Swift: The pop star and Grammy winner has been seen at McAlister’s Deli in Nashville, Tennessee, where she ordered a turkey sandwich and a sweet tea. She also mentioned McAlister’s Deli in her song “Betty” from her album Folklore (2020), where she sang “I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything / But I know I miss you / Standing in your cardigan / Kissin’ in my car again / Stopped at a streetlight, you know I miss you”.
- Drew Brees: The NFL quarterback and Super Bowl champion has been a fan of McAlister’s Deli since his college days at Purdue University, where he frequented the West Lafayette location. He also became a franchisee of McAlister’s Deli in 2011, when he opened his first location in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Oprah Winfrey: The media mogul and philanthropist has praised McAlister’s Deli for its sweet tea, which she called “the best sweet tea ever” on her show The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986-2011). She also featured McAlister’s Deli on her list of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” in 2008, where she gave away a year’s supply of sweet tea to her audience members.
Behind the Counter: The McAlister’s Team
McAlister’s Deli is not only a place to enjoy great food and drinks, but also a place to work and grow. McAlister’s Deli has a dedicated and passionate team of staff members who make the brand successful and special. McAlister’s Deli also has a vision and strategy for innovation and growth that will take the brand to new heights and markets. McAlister’s Deli is not only a place to work, but also a place to learn and thrive.
McAlister’s Deli has over 15,000 staff members across its 529 locations. These staff members include crew members, managers, chefs, trainers, marketers, and more. They are the heart and soul of the brand, as they deliver exceptional customer service, prepare delicious food and drinks, and create a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
McAlister’s Deli values its staff members and provides them with opportunities for training and development. McAlister’s Deli offers hands-on paid training for new hires, as well as ongoing coaching and feedback for existing staff. McAlister’s Deli also offers career paths for staff members who want to advance within the brand or the Focus Brands family. Many of McAlister’s Deli’s leaders started as crew members and worked their way up to management positions.
McAlister’s Deli also fosters a customer-focused approach among its staff members. McAlister’s Deli encourages its staff members to listen to customer feedback, anticipate customer needs, and exceed customer expectations. McAlister’s Deli also empowers its staff members to make decisions that benefit the customers and the brand. McAlister’s Deli also rewards its staff members for their performance and loyalty with incentives, recognition, and benefits.
McAlister’s Deli has stories from its staff members
McAlister’s Deli has many stories from its staff members that showcase their passion, dedication, and success. Here are some examples:
Linda a crew member at McAlister’s Deli
Linda is a crew member at McAlister’s Deli in Fort Worth, Texas. She has been working at McAlister’s Deli for over 10 years. Linda loves her job because she gets to interact with customers and make them happy. She is known for her cheerful personality and her signature greeting: “Welcome to McAlister’s!” Linda has many regular customers who come to see her every day. She also enjoys working with her team, who she considers her family.
Kevin a manager at McAlister’s Deli in Atlanta, Georgia
Kevin is a manager at McAlister’s Deli in Atlanta, Georgia. He started as a crew member at McAlister’s Deli in 2015. Kevin was promoted to shift leader in 2016, assistant manager in 2017, and manager in 2018. He credits his success to his hard work, his mentors, and his training. Kevin loves his job because he gets to lead his team, grow his business, and serve his community. Kevin is always looking for ways to improve his operations, his sales, and his customer satisfaction.
Rachel a chef at McAlister’s Deli in Denver, Colorado
Rachel is a chef at McAlister’s Deli in Denver, Colorado. She joined McAlister’s Deli in 2019 as part of the culinary innovation team. Rachel is responsible for creating new recipes and concepts for the menu. She loves her job because Rachel gets to express her creativity, experiment with different ingredients, and test new flavors. She is proud of her contributions to the menu, such as the Asian Crunch Salad, the Buffalo Chicken Nacho, and the Lemon Blueberry Cookie.
Innovation and Growth
McAlister’s Deli has a vision and strategy for innovation and growth that will take the brand to new heights and markets. McAlister’s Deli aims to become a billion-dollar brand by 2024 by opening more locations across the country. McAlister’s Deli also aims to enhance its customer experience by offering more convenience, variety, and value.
McAlister’s Deli pursues innovation and growth in various ways, such as:
New menu additions and concepts:
McAlister’s Deli constantly updates its menu with new additions and concepts that appeal to different tastes and occasions. McAlister’s Deli launches seasonal specialties that feature fresh and seasonal ingredients. McAlister’s Deli also introduces new concepts that offer more options and customization for customers.
For example, McAlister’s Deli recently launched its “Choose Any Two” option that allows customers to combine any two half portions of sandwiches, salads, spuds, or soups.
McAlister’s Deli plans to expand its presence in both existing and new markets across the country. McAlister’s Deli has a pipeline of over 300 units that are in various stages of development. McAlister’s Deli also plans to enter new markets that have high potential and demand for its brand, such as California, Nevada, and Oregon.
McAlister’s Deli also plans to explore new formats and channels for its brand, such as drive-thrus, ghost kitchens, and grocery stores.
McAlister’s Deli in the digital age:
McAlister’s Deli embraces technology and digitalization to enhance its customer experience and operational efficiency. McAlister’s Deli offers online ordering, delivery options, rewards programs, and digital menus for its customers. McAlister’s Deli also uses technology to streamline its operations, such as inventory management, labor scheduling, and food safety. McAlister’s Deli also leverages data and analytics to optimize its marketing, sales, and customer loyalty