International Deli smells like a deli should: warm, meaty, with a hint of rye. It has occupied this narrow, strip-mall location since 1965, and the decor hasn't changed appreciably since. As for the food, wraps are about the most far-out thing on the menu.

Mark Glickman bought the business from its longtime owner, Ray Nordquist, in November 2008. When Nordquist introduced him to the customers, Glickman remembers, "they all said, 'Congratulations. Don't change anything.' " He has followed that advice.

What distinguishes International Deli is its commitment to cooking. In an era when fewer and fewer delis make their own food, International shreds cabbage and boils eggs and potatoes every morning for, respectively, coleslaw, egg salad and potato salad, all made with Hellmann's mayonnaise. ("That's the only mayonnaise there is," remarked Carol Sorrentino, who has worked behind the counter for 15 years.)

The chicken breasts do not bear perfectly regular grill marks -- because they are actually grilled by humans on the premises and not by machines on a food wholesaler's breast-grilling assembly line. Beef is roasted each morning to fill lunchtime sandwiches with hot meat; thereafter, the rosy-pink roasts are moved into the refrigerated case for cold roast-beef sandwiches. Heidi Sanft of Uniondale has been coming to International for 30 years for "the best roast beef in the world." She likes her sandwich on rye with tomatoes.

Whole roasted turkeys are another International specialty. Customers show up early to buy turkey wings and legs, and the scraps left on the carcasses wind up in a savory turkey salad, and various turkey-based soups. The roasted thighs, sliced thin on the slicer, enable International to craft a dark-meat turkey sandwich, on rye with a little mayo, that was about the best lunch I've had in recent memory.

-- ERICA MARCUS

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