Crowd-pleasing D’Bronx serves up classic deli recipes

08/05/2014 2:56 PM

08/06/2014 11:37 AM

Since 1990, D’Bronx has been known for serving authentic New York-style food in the heart of Kansas City.

The East Coast-inspired menu boasts thin-crust pizza topped with homemade marinara, soft matzo balls soaking in chicken noodle soup, hot pastrami wedged between slices of spicy rye and dense wedges of creamy cheesecake.

The original location at 39th and Bell streets was opened by Robert and Janet Bloom, a couple with family ties to The Bronx, the northernmost of New York City’s five boroughs. A few years later, the Blooms expanded their business with the addition of a second deli in Crown Center.

The Kansas City locations drew customers from all over the metro area — but those who drove up from Johnson County to get their fix for Reuben sandwiches and hand-tossed pepperoni pizza kept clamoring for a location farther south. So in 2007, the Blooms decided to bring D’Bronx to one of Kansas City’s boroughs, Overland Park.

The D’Bronx at 7070 W. 105th St. is operated by co-owner Don Foringer, who started his restaurant career in fast food, working for Sonic and the company that owns Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. Foringer says he likes D’Bronx’s meticulous, authentic approach to food.

“We try to stay as true to the original recipes as we can,” Foringer says.

D’Bronx’s best-selling classic grilled Reuben sandwich starts with corned beef from Boyle’s Famous Corned Beef in Kansas City. “We are one of their largest customers for corned beef in the city,” Foringer says.

Every morning, the salt-cured beef is slow-cooked in the Overland Park deli’s kitchen. Once the corned beef is cooked, it goes in the cooler for 24 hours, until it’s firm enough to slice. Each D’Bronx deli slices between 40 and 50 pounds of corned beef a day.

The corned beef is warmed on the grill before it’s piled onto fresh rye bread baked by a local commercial bakery using a New York-style recipe that’s exclusive to D’Bronx. The deli makes the Thousand Island dressing , but it buys sauerkraut from Boar’s Head and imports the Emmentaler Swiss cheese.

My brother, whom I consider a Reuben sandwich connoisseur, is a big fan of D’Bronx’s version, which he considers perfectly balanced. “There are other Reubens that I like,” he said when we dined at the Overland Park deli last month, “but none of them are this good.”

The Reuben is one of 25 sandwiches on D’Bronx’s menu. One of Foringer’s favorites is the Angus roast beef sub ($5.75). To make the roast beef, D’Bronx cooks marinate a tender inside round of beef for 24 hours in wine and seasonings, then roasts it to medium rare.

I like the meatloaf sandwich ($6.55), which is light enough to enjoy on a 90-degree day. This meatloaf isn’t a thick slab of ketchup-coated beef — it’s a thin, slightly crispy patty of beef and pork flecked with marjoram, oregano and thyme and lightly coated in a fresh-tasting tomato sauce.

“It’s an Italian recipe,” Foringer says.

You can watch batches of meatloaf whipped up in the open kitchen, where D’Bronx cooks also make gallons of chicken broth at a time from scratch by simmering whole chickens and fresh vegetables in giant pots.

The homemade broth is the key to D’Bronx’s chicken noodle soup, which costs $2.25 for a cup or $4.25 for a bowl. The soup, loaded with hunks of carrot, celery and chicken, is even heartier when it’s served with a matzo ball. The round dumplings are made using a Bloom family recipe.

D’Bronx serves its chicken noodle soup every day and offers soup specials throughout the week. Friday is clam chowder day.

The deli is also known for its mozzarella and provolone topped pizza, which gets its crispy crust from high-protein wheat flour, and its homemade desserts, which include apple pie, cheesecake, red velvet cake and carrot cake (all cost $3.50 for a big slice).

Last time I was at the deli’s counter, a baker in the background was cutting thick slabs of chocolate brownies and dusting them with powdered sugar.

“It’s important for people to see us making the food,” Foringer says. “If you can’t see it, how do you know it’s really happening?”

Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes about Johnson County restaurants every first and third week of the month. Contact her via email at sgish@kcstar.com or tweet @sarah_gish.

D’Bronx Authentic Deli and Pizzeria

Location: 7070 W. 105th St. in Overland Park. D’Bronx also has locations at 39th and Bell arewwra in Kansas City, in Crown Center, and at 6846 Johnson Drive in Mission.

Phone: 913-649-9000

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday

Credit cards: Yes

Parking: Free lot

Don’t miss: The classic Grilled reuben sandwich ($7.55), the chicken noodle soup with a matzo ball ($4.25 for a bowl), and the homemade apple pie ($3.50).

Vegetarian: Order a slice of hand-tossed pizza topped with mozzarella and provolone ($2.85) or the healthy veggie sandwich ($5.50), a wheat roll topped with hummus, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrot and sprouts. On the side, try the popular Israeli salad ($1.95), made with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon juice and olive oil.

More info: dbronxkc.com

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