I grew up in Kent, NY, a town over from Carmel, NY. I went to Carmel High School and junior and senior year of high school I had “uptown rights.” Uptown rights are a privilege given to upperclassmen to go uptown for lunch. A coveted right of passage, a moment anticipated for so many years (two years, freshman and sophomore). When I was in high school there was a deli on the corner called Arthur Avenue Deli that as very popular.
All through high school after school activities were followed by a sandwich from Arthur Avenue Deli. At this wondrous location they made the Carmel Special, and they still do. The Carmel Special is a sandwich; served on a poppy seed roll, slobbered in Italian dressing at the heart you find chicken cutlet and fresh mozzarella cheese. I order mine with lettuce and tomato. Now, I had my first Carmel Special in ninth grade, before the name was established and before it was being copied at other area delis.
I have tried the Carmel Special at other locations. It’s got all the components. But at Arthur Avenue the chicken is cooked crisper and the Italian dressing is divine. I have no idea that what it is about the Italian dressing at Arthur Avenue, but it is the best Italian dressing I have ever had. The rolls are always soft and when I was a regular over six years ago, the afternoon staff knew how I liked my coffee. I liked that.
A few years ago this deli moved their location to Putnam Plaza, but they have opened a second location across from the high school. Now the high school students will live on Carmel Specials once again.