Lovers of Texas-style barbecue are in for a tasty treat at the newly opened in downtown Danville.
The deli opened in June, and is near , near the intersection of Hartz and Railroad Avenue.
Head chef and pitmaster, Cyril David, is a veteran of the barbecue, restaurant and catering business.
David was born in Texas, where he owned an oyster bar and smokehouse restaurant for many years.
In California, he also owned the White Sage Grill in Ojai from 1998 to 2006.
With his knowledge and experience, the Texas style barbecue the deli serves is authentic.
Everything is homemade — meats are slow-cooked and smoked in a custom-built smoker, and potato chips, soups and pies are made fresh.
The quality of ingredients is very important to David, he says.
Most of the meats the deli offers are halal certified when available, which means strict animal treatment and handling standards and requirements.
Compared with other barbecue eateries, the Iron Horse Grill is unique in its attention to its carbon footprint.
The custom-made smoker, which David proudly showed off, smokes the meat over hickory, mesquite and oak, but derives its heat from an electric element.
This drastically reduces the amount of wood that is burned and smoke that is vented to the environment to “a hundredth” of what a typical barbecue restaurant would go through monthly, says David.
On Saturday, I took my own resident barbecue fan — my husband — and our children to the restaurant.
We weren’t disappointed — from the food to the service.
The restaurant is small and tidy, and attention to details is evident everywhere, front counter to bathroom.
Prices are comparable to other local barbecue restaurants.
The menu features brisket, trimmed pork rib back, chunky pulled pork, smoked chicken and spicy barbecue hot links.
My husband went straight for the brisket plate, which comes with thick slices of Texas toast.
He opted for a fresh garden salad and thick-cut french fries from the available sides, which also include baked beans, coleslaw, and potato and pasta salad.
The brisket, cooked for upwards of 12 hours was fall-off-the-bone tender and “just the right amount of lean,” according to my husband.
He tried all three barbecue sauces offered — spicy, mild and honey— and deemed them all tasty, but honey was his favorite.
For our next visit, he is eyeing the Philly cheesesteak and the “properly made,” no-mayo French dip.
I splurged on a Southern Fried Chicken sandwich on an onion kaiser bun, with lettuce, tomatoes and honey mustard sauce, with a crisp dill pickle spear on the side, and a generous helping of freshly made potato chips.
The fried chicken was perfection — a juicy and thick breast, fried golden crisp, but not greasy, with a hint of spice. I don’t usually enjoy sauce on my sandwiches, but the honey-mustard sauce gives the sandwich a nice sweet zing.
I’m also not generally a potato chip fan, but these freshly made chips were crisp, not salty, and did not taste greasy.
I am the deli lover in the family, so on my next visits I look forward to trying the roast beef and horseradish, and the tuna and pesto sandwiches.
They don’t have a kids’ menu, but offer a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on thick slices of Texas toast that we ordered for our toddler.
My son went for a hamburger, and although they don’t have a kid-sized option, he made it through a good deal of it.
The deli also offers a 20-ounce burger made for sharing, dubbed the “Burger for Four.”
Custer’s Last Stand, has two 20-ounce patties on a 10-inch bun, and claims to be the biggest burger in Danville.
The massive burger carries a big challenge — if one person can down a fully dressed Custer’s Last Stand burger with cheese, large French fries and large drink in one hour, the burger and a T-shirt are free.
In the months to come, David says the restaurant plans to offer wild game from a preserve in Texas where the animals roam free on 6,000 acres. The preserve is the only such one to be USDA inspected and certified.
Choices will include axis deer, sika deer, south Texas antelope and wild boar.
David says they can cater for up to 500 people, and offer picnic basket service.
Iron Horse Deli is looking forward to getting involved in the community, he adds, particularly local charitable efforts.
The Iron Horse Deli is at 115 Hartz Ave. in Danville.
Hours: Mon., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Tues.-Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 11:30 p.m.-8 p.m.; Closed Sundays.