Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: Egg Salad at Nielsen's Delicatessen

If you are going to have this thing of beauty for lunch, better have some napkins and a spork.
If you are going to have this thing of beauty for lunch, better have some napkins and a spork. Photo by Jeff Balke
click to enlarge If you are going to have this thing of beauty for lunch, better have some napkins and a spork. - PHOTO BY JEFF BALKE
If you are going to have this thing of beauty for lunch, better have some napkins and a spork.
Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

A spork. There inside my white paper bag, mixed among the deli paper-wrapped pickle, deviled egg and sandwich was that silly plastic fork-spoon combination. I realized within seconds it would come in handy.

For 65 years, Nielssen's Delicatessen on Richmond has been delivering the whitest of white people food and I'm not saying that disparagingly. It's said because the original owners of this Houston classic were Danish, much as my pale ancestors on my mother's side. They love mayonnaise and eggs and white bread. Nielsen's, in fact, makes its own mayo in house and it's goddamn delicious. Don't get up in arms, mayo haters, you can find something on their menu to suit your weird ass tastes (I'm kidding, kinda).

So, on a trip to this classic counter service spot, it makes sense that one of the best of their killer offerings would have loads of mayo, in this case, the egg salad sandwich.


When I was asked what type of bread I wanted, I inquired as to what was best. "People like white...or wheat." Um, white please, naturally. Within less than a minute, my made sandwich was wrapped in paper inside a white paper bag with a white spork...you get the idea.

I decided to eat in the car with my dog (who got one bite, I'll admit) and the radio. Turns out, that was a little tricky. This sandwich made with creamy egg salad (eggs, mayo, celery, the usual suspects) on plain old white bread was messy. I used nearly all my napkins and ultimately started scooping the sandwich's amazing innards into my mouth with that silly little spork. It was like being at a family reunion where my aunt actually washes all the plasticware afterward for the environment (true story, God bless her dedication). This felt like food from my grandparents.

Oh, and that little cup in the photo is filled with maybe the greatest deviled egg ever crafted — about 1 part egg and 10 parts filling. See, I told you it was like a family reunion.

The whole thing was as delicious as it was a total mess, so do yourself a favor when you head over to Neilsen's, take plenty of napkins and don't toss out the spork.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke