Your St. Patrick’s Day Guide to Reuben Sandwiches in Urbana, Ohio

How will you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

I recommend a good Reuben sandwich – the handheld alternative to traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage.

The Reuben’s heritage, however, may not be Irish. As with many foods, stories conflict as to its origin. The two more popular legends – from the early 20th century – trace the sandwich to the New York deli of German immigrant Arnold Reuben or the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, where grocer Reuben Kulakofsky, a native of Lithuania,  concocted the sandwich for his poker buddies.

Whatever the story, the Reuben is right at home at several local Urbana, Ohio, restaurants. My wife, Kay, our sons, Andy and Alex, and I recently checked them out – and found a few variations to the classic grilled Reuben with corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on rye.

Here’s our pictorial review:

The Farmer’s Daughter (904 Miami St., Urbana; 937-653-3276) offers two varieties:

Reuben sandwich, Farmer's Daughter, Urbana, Ohio

A classic Reuben, which to my German taste, offered a pleasing, full-bodied sauerkraut flavor. Alex didn’t share my appreciation (“the sauerkraut almost overpowered the rest of the flavors”).


California Reuben at the Farmer's Daughter, Urbana, Ohio

The California Reuben, which substitutes turkey for corned beef and coleslaw for sauerkraut. The sweetness of the coleslaw was a nice counterpoint to the traditional Reuben. Alex thought the sweetness brought out the taste of the rye.


Mumford’s Potato Chips & Deli (325 N. Main St., Urbana; 937-653-3491):

Reuben sandwich at Mumford's Potato Chips and Deli, Urbana, Ohio

Accompanied by a serving of Mumford’s famed potato chips, and a pickle, this Reuben also stands out from the others in its packaging — wrapped up in a rye roll, rather than slices of rye bread. Andy thought the roll lacked the rye taste he savored in the other sandwiches, while Alex reported, “just enough Thousand Island dressing so it doesn’t overpower the other flavors.” Alex is all about balance.


Rock’n Robin Diner (1010 Scioto St., Urbana; 937-484-7625):

Reuben sandwich at Rockin' Robin Diner, Urbana, Ohio

This Reuben is an American classic, right down to the ’50s-style diner where it’s served, on Texas rye, with a pickle. The robust flavor of the corned beef comes to the forefront.


TeaBaggers (127 N. Main St., Urbana; 937-653-7817):

Reuben sandwich at TeaBaggers, Urbana, Ohio

Made in a panini press, rather than grilled, the TeaBaggers Reuben offers another distinction: It’s served with banana peppers — your choice of mild or hot. And it comes with your choice of chips. I agree with Alex that the banana peppers make a good addition and contribute to an overall pleasing taste. To Andy’s taste, though, the peppers distract from “the real Reuben flavor.”


Vintage Roadside Café (1549 S. U.S. 68, Urbana; 937-484-6900):

Reuben sandwich at Vintage Roadside Cafe, Urbana, Ohio

Here’s another classic Reuben, except that the Vintage gives you the choice of sauerkraut or coleslaw. We went with tradition — and it was good, though Kay would have liked a dab more Thousand Island dressing.


Who makes the best Reuben you’ve ever eaten? Please share in the comments below.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Thanks to Alex and Andy for the photography.