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Sandwiches That Stand the Test of Time

A line of people forming out the door was the first clue that there was something special on Market Street. Then the smell of salty, hot pastrami hit, and the cravings began. Quincy's, a sandwich spot only open for lunch, is old, tattered, and famous for its no-frills, great-tasting sandwiches.

Dark wood paneling covers much of the restaurant and makes for an oft-dim setting, particularly for an establishment only open during daytime. The weathered wooden tables and chairs filling the restaurant have seen better days. The piles of old cardboard boxes that line the windows, the handwritten notes written on faded paper squares, and the high ceiling deteriorating in its long state of disrepair, have no affect on what the restaurant shines at: making hearty sandwiches at a reasonable price.

To enter Quincy's is to immediately stand before an assembly line of sandwich makers. There's an array of sandwich options, from warm corned beef to turkey or tuna. Sandwiches all cost around $5.00, and are served with your choice of cheese (Jack, Swiss, American, cream cheese, sometimes provolone) on your choice of bread (light or dark rye, egg bread, sourdough, nine grain bread, or French rolls, to name a few). Each sandwich also comes with the fruit of the day, usually a banana or apple.

Among the most famous Quincy's dishes is the hot pastrami sandwich. Piles of hot pastrami strips are heaped in between bread slices with lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard as complements to the main attraction. As you eat, your mouth will water as you anticipate the following bite; it's that good.

For the non-beef eaters, there's also a chicken salad sandwich, an egg sandwich, or even an avocado sandwich. The chicken salad consists of huge chicken chunks, slices of celery and shredded carrot.

While most of Quincy's patrons are employees on their lunch break who, lured in by the scent, insist on ordering the meatier fare, food for the entire family is available as well. On a recent visit, a woman came into the restaurant with her young children and ordered them good old PB&Js ($3). There's also an enticing peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich ($3). Visitors can wash all that down with their choice of canned beverage from the case next to the register. Here you'll find bottles of Welch's grape juice next to cans of Jolt cola, Squirt, A&W root beer, orange Crush, and Vernon's ginger ale (recently touted by the Chronicle as the best -- and one of the hardest to find -- on the market).

Those wanting to avoid a crowd can call their order in ahead, as long as they call before 11:00 am. Most don't mind waiting though, because the lines moves fast -- having been open over 30 years, Quincy's has their sandwich making operation down. Biting into the roast beef sandwich piled so thick you really taste the meat, it's easy to see why Quincy's has lasted so long.
As one customer leaves, he can't help shouting out at the Quincy's staff, "You still make the best roast beef in town!"

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