I'm probably not the only one who's been walking or biking or driving past the Lakeview Bakery and Deli for years and unjustly ignoring it. The shop is on one of the busiest corners in Madison (where Blair, Williamson, E. Wilson and John Nolen Drive come together); plus, anyone coming off the Williamson segment of the bike path and heading toward the Square goes right past Lakeview.
It's on the ground floor of the Hotel Ruby Marie, and the menu is brief and to the point.
A couple of daily soup and sandwich specials are marked on a whiteboard and five or six homemade salads are displayed without fuss in a cooler case. From there, it's pretty much mix and match. The Lunchbox Special ($6) is a sandwich and choice of a side of either soup or salad; the Lunchbox Lite ($4.75) is a half sandwich with choice of side. A build-your-own sandwich from many available components ($5); large soup and bread ($3); or small soup or small salad ($2.50) round out the lunch menu.
On a recent visit, the daily sandwich special (turkey, bacon and guacamole on sourdough) paired nicely with a broccoli, red pepper and tomato salad in a not-too-tart vinaigrette. The sandwich was stuffed full with turkey, a very nice deli turkey that tasted like it originated on someone's Thanksgiving bird, not the slippery white taste-free slices fused from, you know, parts. The guacamole didn't add a lot -- perhaps it could have used more spices. However, with the excellent side salad (I actually wanted to finish the generous portion), good bread and good meat, it was a quality box lunch all around.
Other salads that day included a dill/cucumber, and several more lettuce-based tossed salads; soups were navy bean and beef veggie, all homemade.
Breakfast at the Lakeview Deli is served until 11 a.m. The choice is between a breakfast burrito and a breakfast croissant sandwich, both with scrambled eggs and with a choice of ham, bacon or turkey. At just $3, either is a steal. The one drawback is that choosing one of these will probably preclude your indulging in one of Lakeview's pastries, although not necessarily. The croissant breakfast sandwich is large, tasty, and only a little sloppy to eat, with eggs and plenty of crispy bacon and cheddar.
If you, like me, have been bypassing this place, do stop in and give it a try.