We like to stay pretty competitive here at The Thrill, and a Blog Off is one way we can definitively prove that one of us is objectively a better blogger (dare we say, a better person). So we leave it to you, the reader, to decide in a blind taste test who is really better as we square off on various topics. This time around, we have senior Lillian Fox Peckos ’20 and first-year Sydney Fallon ’23 battling it out RE: Which iteration of the Gambier Deli was better? The Old Deli or New Deli? Who will come out on top? Only you can decide.
Old Deli, each day, my heart and stomach yearn for you. Some people may have come to this small, rural college to write the next “Great American Novel,” learn how to swim, quest for justice, or rush a fraternity. However, the best way to my heart is most certainly through my stomach. I knew this was the place for me when I set foot in the Gambier Deli and became engulfed in the deli smell: meat, melting cheese, eggs, coleslaw, Grog, bagels, really just everything in the kitchen sink. It was Thumbs Up Weekend 1 of 2016, a stormy day in April, and my mother and I were starving. Patiently awaiting my order, the Kenyon on a Roll (#10), I was pondering whether or not this place was truly for me. Once I sunk my teeth into this delightful grilled sandwich, I was overcome with emotion. The layers took me somewhere else, beginning with the crisp rye bread onto melted swiss cheese to perfectly crunchy coleslaw to the comfort of turkey and finished with a dollop of tangy Russian dressing.
You may be thinking, “Hey, Lillian! You can still get this sandwich at the New Deli.” But, my dears, life just is not that simple. The ambiance has been whitewashed by the sterility of Graham Gund’s New England architectural style that has me thinking, “Why am I eating a breakfast sandwich in a doctor’s office?” I feel haunted by the 2020 Plan’s trend of homogeneity. Who can even tell the difference between their NCA, the Bookstore or the Gambier Deli anymore? It is upsetting to watch Gambier become a product of the college. Small photographs of the Old Deli line the wall along with other Farr Hall memorabilia, fragments in memoriam of the village of Gambier’s past charm.
Out with the old, and in with the new. It’s the same old pattern with every generation that comes and goes: the struggle of adjusting to change. Old deli defenders, how are you really any better than, say, climate change deniers? You’re not. You’d like to think you are, but you’re not. Like it or not, old things are never better than new things. Plus, all of the classic nostalgic pieces that made the Kenyon deli so great are still there: their sandwiches are delicious and the sweet deli man who is a star of Kenyon lore is still there.
To be fair, I have never seen the old deli. Despite no hands-on experience to inform me otherwise, I’m right. I’ve done my research. From what I can tell, the new deli smells better than the old deli at the very least. Who could ask for anything more than that? I will never know the famously pungent meat smells of the old deli, and I’m totally fine with that. There are enough smelly places here (looking at you, freshman dorms) to go around. The dawn of a new era has begun, and this new era is sweet and exciting. Long live gentrification! New Deli wins!