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I've frequented the Queensgate Towne Center since Frank's Theatre opened, but I'm ashamed to say that I've never eaten at The Festive Board deli. That might be because I am prejudiced against eateries that don't have a website (I was told it will be getting one soon). Or, because I feared if I went in and didn't like the looks of the place, it would be too small to flee without anyone noticing.

I was a coward.

The scariest thing about The Festive Board deli is the idea of reading its cheese menu before your lunch break is over. About 600 different varieties go through the deli on a yearly basis, the owner, Ed Abendschoen, said.

And, it has to be doing something right, because this year marks the place's 45th anniversary. Its bread and pastry baker, Charles Sherron, has been working there since 1975 (longer than the current owner).

"I'm old school," he said. "I get a job and stay there."

But, there is another reason why Sherron has only worked at one establishment his entire adult life.

"All the products are good," he said. "The customers keep coming back."

After someone calls you "hun" and tips you off to the free sample table (which sometimes has extra crab dip from a catering order), the menu comes in the form of a few displayed sandwiches and the bread, cheese and meat cases open for your viewing pleasure.

Because this all can be a little overwhelming, do snag a paper menu from the basket a few steps away from the cash register.

"We make all of our own breads, salads, soups on site," Abendschoen said. "It's all fresh and ready to go on a daily basis."

The deli is a place to indulge in the more gourmet options, like a choice of four different kinds of olives or a fresh-baked onion roll.

Brie cheese and a pretzel roll caught my eye. So, I went for the "Dinde," a specialty hot turkey sandwich with Brie and honey mustard. It was pure comfort food - sweet, doughy pretzel bread, smooth brie with bits of bitter from leftover edges and a non-spicy mustard.

I think the next time I go, I might be more adventurous and create a custom sandwich. With the choice of 16 meats and countless cheeses, I can't imagine it would be easy.

After grabbing a deli sandwich or soup, there are plenty of dessert options between the pastries, cannolis and even neighboring Macklin's Café (best known for its cupcakes) and Sweet Frog.

If you go

LOCATION: The Festive Board, 2031 Springwood Drive, York Township

CUISINE: International

ASHLEY'S PICK: "Dinde" on a pretzel roll, Utz salt and

vinegar chips and unsweetend tea, $9.22

PARKING: Off-street

HOURS: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday

PRICE RANGE: $3.95 to $17.95

ALCOHOL: Not served, but customers may bring their own

SMOKING: No

ACCEPTS: Cash and credit

TAKEOUT: Yes

KID'S MENU: No

DETAILS: Call 717-854-2420 or search for Festive Board on Facebook

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