First of all the quality is much better. Our food would be more comparable to a Panera [Bread] or something like that. Our sandwiches are often more flavorful; they are bigger. "

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CRESTVIEW — There’s been quite a turnout at McAlister’s Deli since its grand opening Monday on 2100 S. Ferdon Blvd. 

“It’s been really busy. The expectation was very high for the store because we are in a pretty high population area that seems to be underserved,” said Lance Youngblood, the VP of Operations for DMAC81, McAlister’s parent company. 

He added, “I am pretty happy with what we have seen so far...”

Their most popular sandwich, says Youngblood, is the McAlister’s Club. 

“The McAlister’s Club is the most popular sandwich because it’s a safety net for people because everybody knows a club is going to be pretty good and they see a big menu and it scares them a bit. Their first order is something kind of easy.” 

Another popular menu item is the French Dip Sandwich, but as people keep coming in their tastes evolve.  

“There are other sandwiches that seem exotic to people, but on their second or third visit they start to branch out and start ordering something different," Youngblood said. 

What distinguishes McAlister’s from competitors, Youngblood says, is primarily the quality of the food. 

“First of all the quality is much better,” he said. “Our food would be more comparable to a Panera [Bread] or something like that. Our sandwiches are often more flavorful; they are bigger. We have bread options, we have corn beef, pastrami, your basics like turkey, ham and roast beef. We wouldn’t consider our sandwiches like sub-type sandwiches. They are more traditional sliced breads and just different varieties.

“You can eat at McAlister’s four or five days a week and be pretty happy with it and I think that’s what sets us apart from the competition," he said. "You can’t do that at Panera, you can’t do that at Subway and you can’t do that at Firehouse [Subs]. We are always coming up with something and our customers are always blown away by the size [of the sandwiches],” he said.