Miracle Mile Deli is a well-loved Phoenix institution and I'm just one of a legion of loyal fans. In fact, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton recently recognized its history and proclaimed May 10th as Miracle Mile Deli Day. Brooklyn, New York native Jack Grodzinsky founded the deli 67 years ago, and now his grandson Josh Garcia oversees the day-to-day operations of this third-generation legacy.
In 2015, Miracle Mile Deli moved to a gleaming freestanding building at 16th Street and Campbell in Phoenix. The space is bright and modern with cozy booths and tables. Digital menu boards aid those in the cafeteria-style line to winnow down the choices from the many tempting options. In nice weather, glass-paneled doors open up to a wrap-around patio that seats 48.
Vice President Josh Garcia explained the thought that went into the design. "We wanted to create a family-friendly atmosphere that was comfortable for everyone - whether you're a businessman wanting to do a casual lunch, whether you’re a retired person or coming in with family, or whether you’re a millennial that’s looking for a quality place that isn't fast food." You'll find family recipes handed down through generations such as Hungarian stuffed cabbage, beef stew, and fillet of cod. All the soups are made from scratch every day using his grandfather's recipes, such as chicken noodle, matzo ball, mushroom barley, and split pea. Sandwiches can be ordered with a choice of bread and a side, such as classic mac 'n cheese, coleslaw, and potato salad. The friendly staff is also an integral part of the tradition. "Our head chefs have been with us for over 30 years," Josh said, "and employee turnover is less than 1%."
Even with this range of dishes, however, it's Miracle Mile Deli's award-winning pastrami that is their best seller. In fact, they go through two tons a month of this brined, smoked, and steamed melt-in-your-mouth pastrami.
Pastrami is the main ingredient in one of my go-to's - the Straw - with a side of mac 'n cheese. Order a Straw and you'll get a sandwich piled high with hot pastrami, melted Swiss cheese, and crunchy sauerkraut.
Another frequent order is the BBQ pastrami delivering chunks of tender meat with a seasoned crusty bark tossed in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce.
After my most recent visit, I now have a third favorite. Josh's love of his family's brisket was his inspiration for the Times Square Cheesesteak. "I grew up eating brisket before I was eating pastrami," he said. "I thought I could easily do a cheesesteak version, and we sell a lot of it." It's easy to see why when I bite into a toasted roll coated with Miracle Mile dressing and filled with thin slices of juicy brisket, sautéed onions and peppers, and gooey pepper jack cheese.
Save room for dessert, especially if it's a slice of creamy NY-style cheesecake or warm bread pudding topped with whipped cream and drizzled with caramel sauce.
Miracle Mile Deli also serves a weekend breakfast with fan favorites such as decadent cinnamon roll pancakes with cream cheese glaze and the Empire State breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes, asadero cheese, and housemade chorizo.
The Take-Away window has also been a huge success, making it convenient for customers to order on-line for pick-up. It's especially handy for local businesses and group orders, as Josh explained. "You can send an email to let everybody in your group know you're ordering from Miracle Mile. Each person can place their own order, press submit, and it goes to one person after everybody makes their order. It even lets you know if someone hasn’t submitted their order yet."
Josh recognizes the importance of community and his family's history. "The coolest thing is to see three or four generations of people within the same family come here. They'll say, 'I brought my daughter, and my daughter now brings her daughter' and they’re having lunch for a couple of hours just sitting and enjoying. Everybody has a Miracle Mile story. Nothing makes me happier."
Miracle Mile Deli is located at 4433 North 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ, 85016 and is open Mon - Fri 10:30 am to 8:00 pm and Sat - Sun 7:00 am to 8 pm.
I received a complimentary media invitation.