TUPPER LAKE — Heading to Lake Placid, we stumbled on a really neat pub and deli just outside Tupper Lake.
We had actually planned to have lunch in Lake Placid but got a late start on our journey. Someone had told us that the food at the Marketplace Pub & Deli was worth checking out.
So we stopped. And we were so glad we did.
The Marketplace has been there for years — since 1974, it says on the sign out front. We remember it from years ago, a long, low rambling, rustic building selling nursery products in the summer, Christmas trees in the winter and jarred jams and jellies and other gourmet-type products indoors throughout the year.
Over the last decade a takeout deli was added, featuring quality Boars Head products, homemade salads and the like. This summer, much of the rambling indoor space was transformed to cozy/rustic eating area, along with an inviting rustic bar complete with a tastefully mounted fox next to an unobtrusive flat-screen TV on the wall behind.
Everything is fashioned in rough-hewn wood — the walls, the ceiling, the tables, the bar. Old lumberjack handsaws, come-alongs and tools decorate the walls. A huge maple butcher block with a big basket of fresh apples on top is the centerpiece of the room.
If the food was as good as the ambiance, we were in for a treat in Tupper.
It wasn’t quite noon and the open deli kitchen was bustling with employees, women sharply dressed in black pants and tops accented with colorful designer chef aprons.
A friendly young gal who was to be our waitress, Lexie, invited us to seat ourselves, which we did at a high-top table for two. She left us with menus, and we quickly learned that this was no pizza, chicken wing and burger place.
Sandwiches rule. Roast chicken with red peppers, mushrooms, red onions and cheese topped with fresh spinach. Corned beef and pastrami with Swiss topped with homemade coleslaw. Roast turkey with sautéed apples, cheese, romaine and cranberries. Roast beef with choice of blue cheese, Swiss or Muenster grilled with lettuce, tomato and red onion.
Soups and salads, too. Split pea. Vegetable beef barley. Butternut squash bisque. Ham, potato and pepperjack cheese.
Antipasto salad. Fruit and nut salad. Seafood salad. Fresh grilled pear salad.
Pinch me. Was I really in Tupper Lake?
We wanted to try it all, but there were only two of us. So we homed in on the fruit and nut salad ($9) and the crispy fish slaw sandwich ($9).
The salad was excellent, a mix of fresh greens (leaf and bibb lettuce, not a trace of iceberg) with a lot of choices: roast chicken, roast turkey, chicken salad or tuna salad; feta, gouda, cheddar or Swiss; strawberries, red grapes, apple slices, mandarins, cucumber, dried cranberries; almonds or walnuts; raspberry vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette or sweet onion dressing.
We ordered all the little doodads (except cucumber), which came carefully mixed into the greens, with balsamic vinaigrette on the side. For cheese we chose Gouda, which came nicely rolled and placed one side. For meat we got roast turkey; it was artistically placed on top in the form of a rose petal.
Someone really knows what they’re doing here. This was one great-looking and great-tasting salad.
The fish sandwich was as good as it gets, too.
A fresh piece of cod was hand-breaded and deep-fried to a crispy golden brown, placed on a house-made brioche roll and topped with a blob of their own coleslaw. Tartar sauce came with it, but it wasn’t really needed. It was perfect just the way it was.
Soup came as a side. We tried the vegetable beef barley; it was served in a green-friendly cardboard soup cup. You could tell the soup was made right there, fresh veggies in a not-too-salty stock with slices of seasoned roast beef swimming in it.
Presentation was right up there, too. A slice of lemon placed on top of the roll was stabbed in place with one of those cool new bamboo knot picks. The soup and sandwich came in a roomy, low-sided Adirondack-twiggy wooden basket lined with attractive deli paper. Nice touch.
We also tried a cup of the split pea soup ($2.50). It was just fine. I was expecting to taste ham or see some pieces of ham, but then realized it was probably a vegetarian soup. Silly me.
But perhaps the best of all was a fresh roll that came with the salad. It was something we vaguely recalled from an era long ago when a trip to Grandma’s house came with the yeasty aroma of bread baking in the oven.
This was that bread, dense but light with only the top having a crust-like feel, the interior warm and moist with a bit of sweetness.
By this time, shortly after noon, one other customer had grabbed a table in the dining room. But from my vantage point, there was nonstop traffic at the deli counter with what appeared to be people taking a lunch break from work, ordering and picking up food to take back to the office.
Back when we entered by the deli area we couldn’t help but notice a huge display case containing cookies and cakes, the cakes all cut and wrapped and ready to go for the takeout crowd, and most priced at $1.69.
Of course we made a mental note to stop back and check out the sweets, which we did, settling on a piece of pumpkin spice cake with maple cream frosting and a decadent something-or-other layered confection consisting of crust, chocolate mousse, buttercream filling and a melted and cooled chocolate layer on top. Both of them — totally yummy.
A thoroughly enjoyable lunch for two came to $26.60 before tip. While we didn’t partake, beer and wine and mixed drinks are available.
What a find! We can’t wait to stop back again and maybe even spend some time at the welcoming bar some evening.
Marketplace Pub & Deli doesn’t have a website, but they do have a presence on Facebook that is updated fairly regularly.
If you’re headed to Tupper Lake to visit the Wild Center Museum or just riding through the Adirondacks to enjoy the fall foliage, be sure to check out the Marketplace Pub & Deli. It’s on Route 30 just out of town on the way to Saranac Lake.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marketplace Pub & Deli
2594 Route 30
Tupper Lake, N.Y.
Pub food at its finest, with Adirondack ambiance to match
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday
10 a.m.to 5 p.m. Sunday
OUR PICKS: Fruit and nut salad, crispy fish slaw sandwich, vegetable beef soup, any of the desserts — and be sure to get one of their fresh rolls just like grandma used to make.