East Side Deli

East Side Deli, Brief Review
Overall Service Food Quality Atmosphere Vegan Options
8 9 9 7 7
Location: 4626 SE Hawthorne 503-236-7313 

4823 N. Lombard  503.247.3354

Recommended Dish: Build-Your-Own with Vegenaise, Field Roast & the works
Hours: 11am – 11pm
Times Visited: 2

Update – North Portland location added!

Warning: The gluten-free may want to click away now, or consider the build your own salad. Go wander this website and check out our review of gluten-free friendly Dwaraka Indian Cuisine. It’s time to declare feelings for a sandwich.

Dear East Side Deli,

It’s ridiculous that it took so long for my first visit to happen. You know how Portland is. You were on my to-go list, and then it became the year of the cart, and they just haven’t stopped. What you did for me after my first visit was grand – you not only had my newly gluten-free friend pull out her loaf of curious bread and a jar of tapenade in jealousy – you reminded me just how great sandwiches could be. As a single gal who likes to cook, I don’t turn to sandwiches a lot. If I want one, I go to D.C. Vegetarian for lunch and they never let me down. You reminded me that there’s something (gluten-free friends, why are you still reading?!?) unmatchable about a thick roll, a thick layer of warmed Field Roast slices, whatever toppings I want, and sweetly smothered Vegenaise.

Your Dave’s Killer Bread and Portland French hugged sandwiches make me rethink everything I thought I knew about quick meals. I rarely make it through a loaf of bread and consequently, have an almost embarrassing amount of breadcrumbs in my freezer. With you, I can ease up on the unfinished loaves of bread and simply stop by for exactly what I want.

Sure, you offer the Absolutely Vegan sandwich on the specials menu, but I’m a picky Build-Your-Own gal, and I appreciate that option. It’s overwhelming at first. How to decide?

Let’s walk through their ordering form, which you can pick up on the deli counter:

The Bread Selections? – easy enough, I like Dave’s, and I like wheat rolls. The Meat Selections? Obviously, the vegan Field Roast. The Cheese? Check none. The Dressings?Thanks to your staff, I now know the not-so-secret importance of placing a “V” over mayonnaise when I check it. The Toppings? Whoa. How many can I handle? How many can you handle? I thank you for having chopped pepperocinis. They improve so many things in life. The Seasonings? Salt, pepper and Italian seasonings. I’m good. The Extras? 50 Cents for the vegan additions of avocado slices or chopped sun-dried tomatoes. And I’m set.

Flat out, you’re a hip yet classic take on a delicatessen in Portland, and you make it work. There’s a couple tables for casual seating, a row of window-facing bar seating, chip stands and a cooler with glass bottles of Mexican coke. That always rocks.

East Side Deli, you make me want to hang out on upper Hawthorne a whole lot more. You’re just such a convenient, satisfying stop for food after a visit to nearby Bar of the Gods, or a quick stroll away from Albina Press for a post-sandwich Americano.

You make me crave Field Roast.

You make me consider looking at New Seasons’ sandwich sheet.

You really make me want a sandwich.

And you give me excuses to reference the Broodwich.

Thank  You.

Yours truly,


P.S. Just toast the bread a little more, okay?

Vegan Bread*: You probably know that Dave Killer’s Bread is vegan. It’s a a tempting choice, but let me warn you: it doesn’t quite encompass such a packed sandwich, and a toasting request becomes irrelevant if you take it to go. East Side Deli also offers white and wheat hoagie style rolls – which is my recommendation – from Portland French Bakery. Upon inquiry, the staff said that there was a single ingredient listed last on the rolls that they weren’t sure about, but that most vegans didn’t care. Having previously heard that Portland French Bakery is vegan friendly, we quickly contacted them directly, and here is their positive confirmation:

Nearly all of our breads are vegan friendly.  We have a few specialty items with dairy products in them, and we do market some cheese sticks and cheese rolls, but outside of these the products are primarily restaurant products and not offered in retail.

You would be safe with any of our sourdough products (City Sour) or any of our rustic products (Hearth Rustic,) which covers a good portion of our offerings.  There are also no dairy products in our Pub Buns.  For Thanksgiving, the Ciabatta Cranberry rolls are also “safe.”

Thanks for your interest and for taking the time to email.

Vegan Fillings: Field Roast slices (request warmed, if desired), lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapenos, black olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, chopped pepperocinis, dill pickle chips, cucumber, shredded carrots, sauerkraut, salt, pepper, Italian seasonings, avocado, and sun-dried tomatoes. If there were more vegan protein options, you’d see this rating climb ever higher.

Vegan Spreads: Vegenaise (put a “V” and check mayonnaise), olive oil, deli mustard, yellow mustard, balsamic vinaigrette,  Ask about specific vinaigrettes and dressings if you’re unsure – and let us know what you find out!


6 inch Wheat Roll with Sun-dried Tomatoes $6

Build Your Own Sandwich

Build Your Own Salad

Outside the N. Lombard location

Inside East Side Deli


8 responses to “East Side Deli

  1. This is good to know. Every time I have ordered a vegan sandwich with them, they’ve told me that the bread is not vegan and getting a sandwich on Dave’s isn’t the same since I can have that at home.

    I’m a little bummed, though, that they seem to have stopped serving sweet red peppers and have instead substituted them with regular green peppers. The red peppers were great.

  2. The New Seasons build your own sandwich is really good too, I think the tomato field roast is even better than the kind at East Side. The East Side sandwich is much bigger, has more options and is cheaper. There’s an East Side on Lombard now! I’ve been obsessed since I discovered this place.

  3. Hey Thanks for the nice review. The thing with the bread is this, the last ingredient listed on the sheets Portland French gave us is “enzyme”. I don’t know if they are animal derived but I’ve always told my employees to let people know that there are enzymes listed on the ingredients. That being said, if PFB said they are vegan, then I guess they are not animal derived.
    M, The red vs green peppers is an price vs availability issue. Sometimes reds get really expensive. We try really hard to put out huge sandwiches at low prices so sometimes we have to go with green to save some green.
    S, we also have the tomato Field Roast. We rotate all three flavors, Tomato, mushroom and lentil. It just depends on what we have sliced that day.
    Thank you all for your patronage, we try really hard to have lots of vegan options and not rip you off blind for them. We have new menus now with lots of specialty vegetarian sandwiches that can be easily veganized. We also have vegan, GF cookies.
    Owner of East Side Deli

  4. Cory – thanks for the response! I miss the red peppers but I still love East Side and go often. Thanks for having such good vegan options.

  5. the Lombard one is right across from my vet. I was going to try it out a few weeks ago when i stopped by, but at 9:45 they weren’t open yet and i didn’t want to wait around. knowing field roast is the only protein option… i miss the Little Red Bike’s Tempeh BLTA.

  6. Thanks so much for this review! The LRB Cafe closed shortly before I moved to St. Johns, and I never would have guessed the East Side has vegan options if it weren’t for this review. I’ll be stopping by this weekend!

  7. Oh man! I totally didn’t think they’d have vegan options and I live so close! Thanks for giving the scoop! Going to have to pick up a sarnie for a picnic in the park with my little man!

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