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Honoring a dear friend with a trip to a favorite area deli

April 1 was my close friend's late father's birthday. Arnold was quite the character. One of his favorite things to do was go out to eat. During the week of Arnold's birthday, my friend and I went to one of his favorite establishments — Suburban House Deli, in Pikesville — to commemorate him and his amazing life.

Suburban House Deli is very close to Owings Mills — just a few minutes' drive down Reisterstown Road, just past the intersection for the beltway.

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Suburban House, or S&H, as it's referred to by loyal customers, has been in business for more than 45 years. It is always bustling with diners and customers purchasing takeout. It always surprises me that the waiters and waitresses can carry those big trays loaded with food through the maze of tables and chairs without dropping anything or bumping into diners. The deli has tables and booths to accommodate groups of various sizes.

The deli has received high praise in the community for its food. It has been recognized in Baltimore Magazine as having Baltimore's best matzo ball soup, corned beef sandwich, Sunday brunch, Caesar salad, chicken in the pot and deli foods.

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I love going there to eat. The paper place mat has several Yiddish words and expressions on it, so you can get a language lesson while you are waiting for your meal to arrive. Many of their wait staff have been there for years and years and know the menu by heart.

Suburban House offers "Gezunta" omelets. They are huge — I mean taking-up-a-whole-dinner-plate huge. They are oh so delicious too — always fluffy and full of your choices of tasty treats like Nova lox, onions, cheese, hot dogs or Maryland crabmeat. They are served with your choice of toast, bagel or bread, home fries, sliced tomatoes, applesauce, fruit cup or kugel.

Other breakfast options include Challah french toast, pecan waffles, buttermilk pancakes, homemade potato pancakes, cheese blintzes and noodle kugel.

Suburban House also has huge sandwiches. The day my friend and I dined there, he had the Classic Cloak & Dagger, which is your choice of pastrami, corned beef, turkey or brisket with coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing on rye bread. The sandwich was so big that half of it ended up getting wrapped up for a later treat. The deli's sandwiches have some really unique names, from the "Liver Come Back to Me," which is chopped liver, rare roast beef, lettuce, tomato, onion and Thousand Island dressing, to the "Tears in Your Eyes," which is turkey breast, chopped liver, Muenster cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and Thousand Island dressing. The names are really cute and the sandwiches are full of meat and flavor.

The day my friend and I were there, I had a "Balamer Style" hot dog, which is a quarter-pound hot dog, split and grilled with bologna wrapped around it and served on a fresh bun.

Another feature of the deli is its option to design your own salad. The deli offers a range of signature salads, as well as a long list of toppings.

Suburban House has burgers, chicken, fish and Checkered Plate Specials, which are plates of entrees ranging from hot roasted turkey breast to sweet-and-sour stuffed cabbage, served with your choice of sides.

Its chicken in the pot has been named Baltimore's best for years now. If you are not sure what that is, it's half of a stewed chicken with a serving of chicken soup, matzo balls, carrots and noodles. Trust me — it's amazing, and I've been told that it's the best medicine for anything that ails you.

Suburban House Deli is at 1700 Reisterstown Road, Suite 105, in Pikesville. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Terry Chaney is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached at antter95@yahoo.com.

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