Bottomfeeder: Beba's Is Not Your Average Deli

Beba's in Pioneer Square looks like your average deli, as you can clearly see by this photo. But it's not. Sure, it's got deli staples like pastrami sandwiches 'n stuff, but it also has rotating international salads and Mexican, Italian, Indian, and "Oriental" plate specials like vegetable curry and lasagna. In other words, its cuisine is all over the map--literally!

It's weird that Beba's name isn't Reba's, but folklore has it that megastar McEntire runs her own namesake deli in Chattanooga, which plays her shitcom in a loop on the tube and simplistic power ballads on the speaks.

On my first visit to Beba's, I had cream of broccoli soup and a Peter Rabbit (guacamole, cucumbers, sprouts, cream cheese) sandwich. This came some 17 hours after I downed, in succession, a Maker's Manhattan, two Sloppy Joe sliders, half a Caesar Salad, a mirror pond, and a gigantic bag of movie theater popcorn--so the veggie impulse was obvious, and the food was satisfying, if not mind-blowing.

Next time out, I had lunch with one of the front desk clerks at the Waterfront Marriott, and we each had salads--she an "oriental" salad, me a taco salad. No surprises here: The ingredients were standard and the m.o. efficient, with two Beba's employees constantly tossing a pair of salads, and adding ingredients on a made-to-order basis.

Really, the only downtown restaurant that rivals Beba's versatility is Bruno's, the Mexitalian Stallion.

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