You Gotta Eat: Abe's Deli

By Eric Shangraw

July 13, 2010 Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 2:30 PM CDT

There is a little lunch spot in downtown Peoria that's hidden away, not easy to get to and the owner doesn't advertise.

Abe's Deli is in the back first floor catacombs of the Chase building in Peoria. Only 445 square feet. Seating for a dozen. But for Abe Ghantous, its' enough. 98–percent of his business is carry–out. He makes fresh sandwiches to order, baked potatoes crowned with whatever you want and prides himself on value pricing.

"I basically have a lot of everything. For a very small place, I have a 14 different sandwiches. Soups. Specialty wraps that I have developed over the last three years. And I'm very famous for my baked potatoes," said Ghantous.

Customer Rick Lukehart said, "A co–worker of mine brought me to lunch one day. It is nice. You are off the street. You get a place to sit down. I have a good lunch. It is one of those places, once you come, you just keep coming back."

Photographer Doug Smith and I each ordered a baked potato. Doug held back on the toppings. I went all out: Butter, sour cream, ranch dressing, onions, bacon bits, chives, and sweet peppers. Abe's potatoes are steamed fresh each morning.The dressed up spud hit the spot. Doug had the barbecue sandwich. He said it was good but was disappointed in the small size of the accompanying pickle. I had the roast beef sandwich on tomato basil bread. A fine slice of bread Abe says comes from Chicago twice a week. With drinks, our bill, 16–dollars and 61–cents. Abe's is worth the hunt through the halls of the Chase building.

Abe's Deli is open Monday through Friday from seven in the morning until two in the afternoon.
He'll be closed during the week of Christmas.

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