Taste is a small family-owned gourmet deli chain based around the Norfolk, Va., area that started as a wine and cheese shop about four decades ago before branching out to sandwiches. I was told it would be nearly criminal if I failed to have a sandwich there before leaving the area, so I obliged.
Six locations are scattered across the Chesapeake Bay area, as far north as Newport News and as far south as Chesapeake. The one I chose – in the Virginia Beach neighborhood of Bayville just outside the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base – was staffed by young people who greeted customers with a smile and offered suggestions for Taste rookies like me. Genuine conversation and good customer service are unfortunately the exception rather than the norm in D.C. eateries, so I enjoyed the friendly banter.
I took the manager’s recommendation and ordered the Northender, featuring honey smoked turkey, applewood smoked bacon, havarti, avocado, lettuce and basil mayo on a French roll. The Taste location in Bayville currently has no indoor seating and I didn’t feel like freezing my ass off on the wooden tables outside, so I took my order to go and bounced (that’s hip-hop for “exited the location or situation“). Aight?!
I don’t recommend eating a sandwich like this while driving on the highways. I should’ve been cited for reckless driving a few times while sludge plopped into my lap as I bit into my Northender, but it was worth it.
The havarti, avocado and basil mayo gave my sandwich the kind of tasty, creamy texture you don’t ordinarily get when you make a sandwich on your own. The turkey was fresh, and the lettuce and tomato were crispy.
And that was just one of a couple dozen sandwich combinations. Additionally, there are plenty of sides to choose from – potato and pasta salads, chips, cookies, etc. My only complaint is that this location needs indoor seating (I’m not hanging around to eat outside when it’s 20-some degrees) and a bathroom (I’m not hanging around to hold my wee-wee like a schoolkid). This won’t be my only trip to Norfolk, and this won’t be my only trip to Taste.