The chatter that runs through the hole-in-the-wall that is In and Out Deli is almost constant. There are only three tables inside with four chairs at each, and when lunch time hits, those tables fill up and a line quickly forms.
“We have some that have been coming since the first day,” Loraine Anglin, manager at the sandwich shop, said of her customers.
The restaurant is just over five years old and has been running a steady business since it first opened, connected to Piedmont Tractor Supply off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Gainesville. It serves as a quick stop for good food for many of the workers nearby that only have a short lunch break. People who need to be in and out, in other words.
Anglin is the woman behind it all in the kitchen — outfitted with an apron and hairnet — with help from Jessica Grindle and Jeanne VanScoten. They’re the team that’s been there since the beginning. They get in around 7 a.m. to bake the bread fresh for the day’s sandwiches. They usually start with about 100 sandwiches — ham, turkey and roast beef with cheese, mayonnaise, mustard and pickle — on kaiser rolls, wheat bread or a braided egg roll Anglin calls a hoagie.
There are a few favorites at In and Out, and it’s not only because they’re done well. They’re different and something you won’t find at most places.
“Her chicken salad is off the charts,” said Brian Hollis, owner of Piedmont Tractor who opened the deli.
Anglin said it’s her best-seller — a combination of chicken, mayonnaise, grapes, celery and pecans served on wheat bread.
One of the most interesting things Anglin does, though, is pimento cheese.
It’s not the run-of-the-mill pimento cheese you’ll find in a tub at the grocery store, and you may have never had it or seen it made like this at all.
It starts with finely-grated mild cheddar cheese and Duke’s Mayonnaise.
“Everything's got to be Duke’s,” Anglin said. “If it’s a Southern recipe, it's got to be Duke's.”
She adds pimentos, salt and diced jalapenos to spice things up, but here’s the kicker — chopped pecans.
It may sound crazy, but the pecans add a satisfying crunch in an otherwise typically-mushy spread.
“That's something everybody says is the best they've ever had,” Anglin said. “I mean, it's nothing special, but people say it's the best. I've got a good following with that and I'm hoping it will pick up and become the second best-seller.”
It’s a special on Mondays, just like the barbecue sandwich on Tuesdays, chef salad on Wednesdays, chicken filet sandwich on Thursdays and hot dog on Fridays. If you’re lucky, though, there will be some leftover pimento cheese throughout the week to order.
During the cold months, Anglin likes to offer soup with those specials.
There’s broccoli and cheese soup or potato soup. But the one that’s special to Anglin is the vegetable beef soup.
Again, she said it’s nothing special. But again, there’s something different about it — she likes to serve vegetable beef soup with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“I do it that way because it's like a comfort thing from my childhood,” Anglin said. “When we were in school, that was my favorite lunch: soup and a PB&J sandwich. And people love it.”
The soup is simple, made with ground beef, carrots, lima beans, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes.
And on the side, you’ll get that classic PB&J made with Jif peanut butter and Welch’s grape jelly.
“You can't just go everywhere and get a PB&J and vegetable beef soup,” Anglin said.
Through the years, she said she’s learned that “you can’t predict food.” They only make as much as they think they’ll need for the day. That way, it’s fresh at all times. So when it’s gone, it’s gone. And if there are leftovers, they take it to the Gainesville City Baptist Rescue Mission, a nearby homeless shelter.
“It’s fresh,” said Stephanie Hollingsworth, a longtime customer at In and Out Deli. “It's good. It's good food.”
She works with the Hall County Sheriff's Office, and would grab something from In and Out Deli almost every day when her office was just down the road. Now that it’s across town, she doesn’t go quite as much, but still makes it out to her favorite spot a few times a week. She’s one of many customers who frequent the deli and are happy every time they make the trip.
Her go-to meal, like many other customers, is the chicken salad sandwich on wheat.
“I think I'm a creature of habit sometimes,” Hollingsworth said. “Just keep coming back to the place that you know is going to be good.”