Tucked in behind Howard County General Hospital and next to Howard Community College, Charter Deli opened to "serve the business and residential community," according to Tom Mash, the restaurant's owner.
"I've been waiting for years to open a good deli in Columbia," he said. "When this building came along and the owner asked if I was interested, I jumped at the chance."
Mash co-owned and operated a delicatessen in Silver Spring for almost 18 years before opening Charter Deli in June with his wife, Sandy.
Sandy and Tom Mash bring a family history of food service to Charter Deli: 1940s-era photos on the walls depict Sandy's father in front of his Washington grocery store, and there's a much older photo of Sandy's grandfather in front of his grocery store. "I think that one dates from the late 1800s," Tom Mash said.
Charter offers breakfast items, sandwiches and desserts.
Left home without breakfast? You can make a quick stop at the deli for one of the menu's "Early Starters." There's a choice of gourmet muffins, including blueberry, banana nut, lemon poppy and cappuccino chip -- though sometimes the varieties vary.
Also on the menu are a bagel with cream cheese or bagel with lox, cream cheese, tomato and onion.
And if you're looking for a slightly heartier breakfast, try the scrambled egg sandwich, with or without cheese, or scrambled egg sandwich with a choice of bacon, ham, sausage or steak.
Like a typical New York deli, Charter offers a variety of lunch or dinner items, from potato knishes to kosher-style meats by the pound to Reubens.
For lunch, there is a variety of choices. Under "Lose the Bread" are chicken salad, shrimp salad, egg salad or tuna salad platter.
If you can't decide, the Trifecta Platter might be for you: Choose from any three of those salads. In addition, a Chef Salad Platter (turkey, ham and American cheese on fresh salad greens) and Sara's Grill Chicken Caesar Salad Platter are available.
The sandwiches -- served on rye, white, wheat, Kaiser roll, pumpernickel, sub roll or soft roll bread -- include corned beef, roast beef, oven-roasted turkey, pastrami, baked or broiled ham, kosher bologna and kosher or Genoa salami.
Also on the sandwich menu are chicken barbecue; grilled chicken; bacon, lettuce and tomato; and New York-style kosher hot dogs.
Charter Deli offers "Columbian Combos," such as the Big Ben Club (turkey or ham with crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo, the RB/TB (roast beef and oven-roasted turkey breast), the 3 Bagger (roast beef, turkey and ham), Dr. Harry's Healthy Hoagie (lettuce, tomato, onions, carrots, cucumbers and cheese), a veggie burger, the Supreme (fresh nova lox, cream cheese, tomato and onion on a toasted bagel) and Mandi's Choice (turkey sub with oil and vinegar, provolone cheese and lettuce).
Tom Mash notes that the restaurant is not just a sandwich shop. "It's a real delicatessen. We sell meats by the pound, make all our salads ourselves, and the meats are all sliced thin -- New York-deli style," he said. "We'd do a New York deli justice, but New York is New York. This is Columbia."
And if you're in the mood for "Being Bad" (as the menu categorizes desserts), try cheesecake, carrot cake, brownies or blondies, apple or pecan pie, fudge or vanilla fudge cake or cream pies.
Mash said the desserts are supplied by Clement's Pastry Shop in Washington. "They've been around for a while, and their desserts, especially their cream pies, are excellent. They made my wife's grandmother's wedding cake."
Where: 10700 Charter Drive, Suite 130, Columbia; 410-715- 2272.
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Prices: $3.90 to $7.20.
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover.