Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

FROM THE KITCHEN ; from Ray's Deli, an `Almost Heaven' Sandwich to Savor

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

FROM THE KITCHEN ; from Ray's Deli, an `Almost Heaven' Sandwich to Savor

Article excerpt

Carol Crow, a column follower, had a mystery to solve. As she noted in a recent email, "I was wondering if any readers recall the Almost Heaven' sandwich that was served at Ray's Deli in Kanawha City years ago and would remember the ingredients? She said she wished she had paid attention when eating it. It was delicious and unlike any other she had ever enjoyed and she'd like to make it, if possible.

Wonder no more, Carol. I found two Internet sources for your sandwich. One was a 1975 article in The Charleston Daily Mail featuring Ray Max, deli owner, his family and his delectable deli fare.

The other happened to be in a March, 2007 Charleston Gazette column by popular Saturday Gazette-Mail columnist Alyce Faye Bragg. Who knew Alyce would hold the key to the secret sandwich?

But before I went online to discover those nuggets of information, I turned to someone who was as close as I knew - Ray's brother Steve Max, attorney and administrative law judge for the Worker's Compensation Office of Judges, now retired.

Steve was to speak to Ray about the sandwich and get back to me. Before he could, I found the answer.

According to the Daily Mail, Ray was quite a sandwich inventor with most of his concoctions ending up on the deli menu.

The "Heaven came about when a customer entered the deli saying: "Make me something different!

Ray set about considering the bread, concentrating on the fillings, hand-picking the garnishes, finishing it all off on the grill.

The yet unnamed sandwich became a super-sandwich when a second person, eyeing the newest trial-on-a-plate asked for the same thing. A flood of requests followed.

The sandwich was destined to remain untitled, except for calling it "the new sandwich until the day a diner, in the throes of excitement and enjoyment of the turkey-salami-onion wonder, breathed life into the naming. …

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