Downtown Market & Deli

First, let me say, that although the Downtown Market & Deli on Liberty St. isn't the grocery store I imagined for downtown, I think it might be just what was needed. Something a little different, but with enough staples that downtown residents can swing by for some things on their way home. The "something a little different" part is the part that I'm really enjoying though. The middle eastern options both in the store and the deli are an interesting addition to an otherwise common mini-mart style store.

A few months ago, they added shawarma to their deli in the back. If you aren't familiar with their deli, you have got to try their homemade tzatziki sauce with pita! I often pick some up for parties or just to have on hand for a little snack. It's amazing.

For this new shawarma venture, they also opened up the upstairs seating and have a full service restaurant. There is a combination of seating including booths and table/chair combinations. The booths are leftovers from when the place was The Big Kahuna I believe and are quite comfortable. There are two separate seating areas upstairs, so you can find privacy if that is what you're looking for. They also have two big screen TVs on one half of the seating area, so you can choose to watch a game or the news while you eat, if you sit in the right spot. 

I have been twice for eat in experiences, and a couple times for takeout. The food is consistently delicious. I usually have the lamb shawarma sandwich, but have also tried the chicken. This last time, I called a friend to come join me for lunch and we chose a booth upstairs. We were provided with menus and water quickly and our server/deli worker also asked about our drink order right away. Because of the overlap of deli/server work, don't expect to have consistently fast service. It's always friendly and the food is consistently good, but if the deli gets busy and they don't have a dedicated server, the times will be a little slow. If I'm in a hurry, I usually get my shawarma to-go.

The half eaten baba ganoush

This time we also ordered baba ganoush as a starter. I've heard a lot about it, but hadn't had a chance to try it. It's a dip made of eggplant and served with pita. It was very tasty, but also VERY garlicky as I've noticed a lot of things at this deli can be. I usually order my tzatziki with just a teeny tiny bit of garlic (Note: they make it without and add it if you ask for it. If you don't specify you just want a little, it can be overwhelming).

We had both ordered lamb shawarma sandwiches and when they came, they looked amazing. They were full of chunks of lamb, fresh tomatoes, onions, lettuce and a garlic sauce. The bread is a thin style pita that holds it all together.

Lamb Shawarma Sandwich = Deliciousness!

The prices are very reasonable here. The shawarma sandwiches are a little under $7 and a whole shawarma plate runs about $11. I haven't tried the plate, but one came out for another customer while we were there and it looked like enough meat and fries, and I'm not sure what else, for two people!

This restaurant/deli comes with and interesting ambiance since it is located over the grocery store. Personally, I love people watching and I was quite entertained by looking down at people's heads while I ate, but maybe that's just me. It's usually not packed with people, but there were about four other groups that were there while we were.

I am really happy to have this addition to the downtown dining scene. I really hope that it works well for the owners and that they keep this sit down option open in the upstairs area. It's a comfy little spot to enjoy a delicious meal.

145 Liberty Street NE

Salem, OR 97301-3528
(503) 561-0334
(Between The Brick and the Reed Opera House)

Open Mon-Thu 8am-9pm; Fri 8am-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 10am-6pm


KandN said...

Thanks Rebekah, looks and sounds delicious!

karens82 said...

I LOVE this place. . . it is so hidden and I try to tell as many people about it as possible-I am so glad you did a review! This restaurant is doing a style of food unlike anywhere else in Salem and I am so glad. . . I have been finding myself going weekly! Check it out and support them, I always take some to go items from the deli after I get my schwarma fix. . . hmmm. .. baklava!

My Name is Liz. said...

Agree with the review! It's refreshing to get a taste of the bigger world in Sleepy Salem. The chicken schwarma is my personal fave and the baklava is truly to die for. Gitty Up and go Downtown Market!

jeff said...

Dining room isn't open on Sundays... we dropped by last Sunday and it had "closed" signs on it. Not sure if we could have gotten a schwarma or not - the deli case in back also had a closed sign on it.
Ended up at Super Pho on State St.

Anonymous said...

I went last night with my girlfriend to this place after reading the positive comments. It was very good and we both enjoyed it a lot, however I do have some warnings to make that I wish I would've heard beforehand. The shawarma plate isn't a sandwich, its just a bit of loose meat with the slices of pita and a sauce on the side. I'm sure that's obvious to about everyone except me, but maybe I'll save someone else out there, as I would've preferred the sandwich style, but I wanted fries to round out the meal. The fries were VERY salty, so if you're watching sodium in the least, I'd have them hold the salt and do it yourself. The baklava is delicious, but a bit on the small side and left me wanting more. Overall, though, knowing what I know now, I'll be back and much happier the next time we go. Oh, and don't forget your altoids if you're planning on kissing anyone in the next week or so ;)

Rebekah said...

Good point about the shawarma plate. It's definitely not a sandwich which is what I also prefer. I'm sure you can order fries on the side with the sandwich if you want that option, but the plate is chunks of shawarma meat with some sides.

Rebekah said...

Also, good to know about the dining on Sunday. I might have to try the deli on Sunday and update here. Those might be the store hours, rather than the deli hours. I'll ask about that.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I just tried this place. I would recommend it. it was a great meal, I had the falafel combo and my wife had the shawarma combo. it was very good, service was awesome and the overall visit was a+.