EPIC Deli

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      Please Note – Epic Deli has moved to a new location in the last year and this review is based on that new location.

      Epic Deli in the far-north Chicago suburbs is much more than a ‘deli’. As a matter of fact, ‘deli’ in this case is probably misleading.

      Epic is better described as an eclectic restaurant serving American-style sandwiches, Tex-Mex meals, desserts and the occasional Asian specialty dish.

      Epic Deli in McHenry, Illinois
      Epic Deli in McHenry, Illinois

      The interior of the new location struck me by how it is decorated; it is a style that perhaps is best described as a late 1960s vision of the 21st century. It’s not contemporary, it’s not retro, but it is an interesting combination of both.

      The interior of Epic Deli in McHenry, Illinois
      The interior of Epic Deli in McHenry, Illinois

      One of the things that took me aback on Epic’s regular menu is the Deadpool Changa which is a burrito stuffed with Buffalo-style chicken and pepper-jack cheese, that is then battered and crusted in Flamin’ Hot Cheeto crumbs before being deep-fried! This creation is served with a side dipping sauce of ghost pepper ranch dressing.

      Can you survive the Deadpool Changa at Epic Deli?
      Can you survive the Deadpool Changa at Epic Deli?

      Surely one must have accelerated healing to be able to survive eating such a creation! But a warning, “No one escapes the wrath of the Changa.

      The regular menu lists submarine sandwiches with names such as aPORKalypse, The Skiba (Matthew Skiba is a guitarist for the band Blink-182), The Leo Stotch (the given name of the character ‘Butters’ in South Park), The Viking Quest, etc.

      There are also Chicago-style (and other) hotdogs, four different kinds of Reuben sandwiches, a huge selection of specialty wraps, Poutine (origin: the Canadian province of Quebec; French-fried potatoes topped with brown gravy and white cheddar cheese curds), loaded mashed-potato balls, deep-fried pickle chips, and both conventional and ‘adult’ milkshakes in flavors such as Dark Chocolate, Boo Berry and Oreo Carrot Cake (to name but a few).

      Mosaic Gummy shake
      Mosaic Gummy shake

      The dessert menu sports a selection of deep-fried candy bars and deep-fried Cherry Kool-Aid balls (whatever that might be) for those adventurous enough to order and try them. A recent Epic Deli weekly specials menu had a delicious sounding Orange Chicken Ramen dish on offer.

      Deep-fried candy bars
      Deep-fried candy bars

      There is a separate vegan menu too. On the vegan menu one finds such things as the Napoleon Dynamite Burger (smothered in nacho ‘cheese’, of course), The High Priests ‘Beyond Meat’ Burger, and Vegan Steak Tacos available.

      Vegan, subs, appetizers and weekly specials menus
      Vegan, subs, appetizers and weekly specials menus

      It would seem that there is something for everyone on Epic’s menu although I am quite sure that the majority of it will increase your cholesterol numbers.

      Tasty, but not too healthy
      Tasty, but not too healthy

      In addition to the previously mentioned ‘adult’ shakes, Epic has a well-stocked bar with local micro-brewed beer on tap and in bottles. I must admit that about half of the names on the taps seemed foreign to me, and I like to think of myself as being at least somewhat hip to the local beer scene.

      Tap beers at Epic Deli
      Tap beers at Epic Deli

      As you would expect since I am doing a site review, Epic has a well-equipped games area with three pinballs, Super Chexx Bubble Hockey, Air Hockey, driving games and stand-up video games.

      The pinball games are serviced by Star Worlds arcade in DeKalb, IL. They are all in quite good condition although I found the free game and free ball thresholds set a bit stingy.

      Pinballs and videos in the games area
      Pinballs and videos in the games area

      This is the first time that I have seen a Ghostbusters Premium in the wild; the Pro model being much more prevalent in my area.

      I included the Fast Track Racing interactive vending machine among the pinballs because it has a plunger to send the gumball onto a spiral track to score in one of the out-holes. I didn’t play it so I don’t know any more details, but apparently this is a rare machine because I could only find one reference to it on the Internet with little to say about it other than the on-offer price if anyone is interested in purchasing one.

      The gaming area has some nifty Atari logo step stools for the vertically-challenged among us. They look cool and at the same time look quite retro, being cast in a teal color plastic with the instantly recognizable George Opperman-created Fuji and the bold Atari lettering.

      It’s also appreciated that they have a change machine nearby for those games that do not have dollar acceptors.

      Epic also have a good-sized stage space for live entertainment and they host up-and-coming local rock bands most weekends. Epic charges a ‘cover’ on nights when there is live music; 100 percent of the cover charge goes back to the bands who perform.

      During the summer months Epic hosts classic car cruise-ins and I understand, because the new location is located away from residential areas, there may be some outdoor music performances offered in Epic’s spacious parking lot.

      I enjoy visiting Epic because of the laid-back atmosphere (on weekdays at least) that reminded me of the small college town vibe, and the vast array of food and drink choices (did I mention that they have Kool Aid in a bubbler? Shades of Jonestown).

      The large games area is of course a bonus, but one that I certainly appreciate.

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