Was asked to try this place out on Instagram and it was a great spot! The Harlem chopped cheese was one of the best subs I've ever had. Quality is top tier here. My only issue with this place is the line was super long and it took awhile after ordering to get my sub. A pickup option would be great but given the small space, I get why they might not want to. I suggest going on a weekday if it's less crowded!
Nov 2, 2023
I came across the Ideal's Sandwich and Grocery in a New York Times article as one of the restaurants featured in their write-up, "36 Hours in Durham." This deli shop gets 5-stars across the board. Their sandwiches are well proportioned and delicious. Do yourself a favor and try it out for yourself!!! You will not be disappointed.
Oct 15, 2023
My girlfriend and I used to come here all the time. The sandwiches are out of this world, easily the best in the triangle and probably NC for that matter.
Lately though the line and difficulty with ordering have kept us from going. If you go on the weekend be prepared to wait like an hour to get your sandwich.
Oct 4, 2023
Simply the BEST sandwich in the Triangle. Paul and Ian have created a cult like following with their northeastern style sandwich/grocery shop. Get there early and do not sleep on their store as they have thoughtfully curated some unique items you can not find at other places.
Aug 19, 2023
These are some of the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life-no exaggeration. The owners are graduates of one of the top culinary school in the country, CIA, and it shows in the quality of their food. Their bread is handmade everyday: focaccia, English muffins, etc. They also are very reasonably priced. Everything I've tasted there has been amazing: even their egg & salami English muffin blew me away. I'm used to egg and bacon but this was a similar mouth feel with a whole other layer of surprising flavors on an English muffin with a slight crisp on the outside and squishy pockets like a flavor sponge. It was also only $5! People stand in line here everyday and it's worth the wait but you better come early because they run out everyday. They also are closed on Wednesdays so check the hours of operation before you come. Check out their Italian grocery store while you wait. It's full of delicious options. Another thing I like about this place is the owner's ideals. They actually named this for Ian's grandfather who was named Ideal but I actually think they live up to their name. They have managed to build a restaurant that is amazing but that doesn't kill their family and workers. They have cracked a code in the restaurant industry by doing things differently in lots of really smart ways. Such as keeping the hours reasonable for their families, picking a location that isn't huge and is cheaper so that they aren't overrun by overhead expense. As a result of these choices they can pour their best money and efforts into the food and it is reflected in the taste and good prices. They are like "The Bear," but the opposite of all the cussing and drama, extraordinary delicious with a side of niceness!
Aug 3, 2023
Easily one of the best sandwiches I've had. Such a classic local sandwich shop with delicious food at affordable prices. The homemade chips are thin and garlicy and amazing, and I truly think I could eat the eggplant cutlet with ricotta hoagie every day. If you live in or near Durham you must try this place!
Jul 6, 2023
Truly a legendary experience, I tried the chopped cheese, Italian, and eggplant sandwiches and I honestly had to stop and rethink my life a bit after every bite. To say that these sandwiches were delicious simply does not suffice, these were TRANSCENDENT.
Jun 12, 2023
During our visit to town, my sister insisted on taking us to Ideals, and WOW, were we impressed! These sandwiches were simply mind-blowing—potentially the best I've ever tasted. Each ingredient was carefully selected, resulting in an explosion of flavors. Despite the wait, which was well worth it, we've already made up our minds to return every time we're in the area. Ideals has undoubtedly become our go-to spot for exceptional sandwiches.
Apr 7, 2023
The best sandwich I’ve had in the triangle!!! I got the Harlem chop cheese which was the bomb and had a lil spice!! My boyfriend got the uncle primo’s chicken cutlet which was also super good! 10/10!!
Lisa & Wes Williams
Apr 6, 2023
They are 100% loved by the community, and they don't take it for granted... They are efficient, helpful and they deliver the goods consistently. This was our first visit and we will definitely go back. Line out the door and it kept getting longer. We ate outside and it seems that about 1/2 ate there and the others took it to go. They have frozen food ready to go as well! Give them a try, be prepared to stand in line and enjoy the experience.
Mar 8, 2023
This place seems like one of those hidden gems, but apparently not so hidden because it was packed around 1pm. We got 3 different subs, all were incredible (homemade bread and all) ‐‐substantially better than anything you'd get at a chain like Jersey Mike's or Subway. The Harlem Chopped was a little spicy for my particular taste, felt the meat to peppers ratio wasn't ideal (wouldn't recommend unless you prefer spicy) and probably wouldn't re-order this again but everything else was excellent. 4.5/5
Jan 21, 2023
Im a chef here in Durham & I live around the corner from this place & decided to check them out. I’m Soooooo happy I did. The Chopped cheese sandwich is heaven & reminds me of when I was a kid in NYC eating downtown. I Haven’t come across anything as good since then & Ideal’s nailed it!!! Thank you for this delicious sandwich. I’ll be back!