To eat your way through the mammoth menu at Katzinger's Delicatessen, you might need about six months and three cardiologists. This hasn't stopped people like me from trying.

To eat your way through the mammoth menu at Katzinger's Delicatessen, you might need about six months and three cardiologists. This hasn't stopped people like me from trying.

The beloved German Village haunt with a made-up family name, and several dozen fancifully titled sandwiches, turned 30 in October. This monumental birthday provided me the perfect occasion to catch up and report back. Spoiler Alert: Except for an expanding gourmet groceries section (featuring breads, cheeses, wines and about 15 beers available with eat-in meals), Katzinger's is still the charmingly snug place familiar to innumerable fans.

Myriad signs with whimsical lettering brighten up utilitarian dining areas bustling at lunch (it's easier to find a seat during evening service). And Katzinger's walls still hold laudatory yellowed clippings from the New York Times and Bon Appetit, plus pictures of President Clinton visiting in the 1990s. But if the deli's vintage wooden floors have witnessed abundant eating yet minimal redecorating, it's for a good reason: The appeal of this Columbus classic is as fresh as ever.

Barrels of free, serve-yourself whole pickles are still appealing too. After ordering at the counter (hint: queuing up without a plan risks "excessive choices" freeze up), grab a couple of those sour treats. The darker "dill" versions are more vinegary and considerably longer cured than the bright green and saltier "garlic" variety. Munch on these, soak in the animated conversations, and await your food delivery.

If you smartly included matzo ball soup ($2.95), you'll receive two enormous eggy orbs with remarkably soft textures. The springy spheres sit in a light and peppery chicken broth.

Katzinger's homemade knishes ($2.50, $2 with a sandwich) are similarly as far from leaden as you're liable to find. But while my savory knish pastry filled with mashed potatoes and a ton of caramelized onion was supple and flavorful, it was also glistening with grease.

Speaking of less-than-lean food, let's move onto Katzinger's indulgent sandwiches. They're big, made with top-shelf ingredients, and worth plans to exercise more - or nap. Several are as sloppy as the smile they plaster on your face.

Exhibit A is the bestselling Katzinger's Reuben ($11). Crunchy grill-toasted artisan rye bread and thinly sliced (if cuts-above) salty corned beef are its main components. Strong garnishes of sweet and rich homemade Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and gently pickly sauerkraut ensure it hits every yin and yang note you'd hope.

Crackly toasted rye likewise packages another winning sandwich called Be's Bustling Birdwich ($11). Starring almost Thanksgiving-worthy warm sliced turkey, it's a creamier reuben (fresh slaw replaces kraut) made with leaner meat.

Beef takes center stage - and a supporting role - in the "reuben-esque" Neal's Let's Make a Meal ($11). I don't know "Neal," but he sealed the deal by mixing juicy beef brisket with rosemary-flavored premium roast beef. The remaining cast is familiar: slaw, Russian dressing and melted cheese (Vermont white cheddar).

Apart from grilled Reubens, there are club sandwich variations, sandwiches with tuna salad and/or smoked fish, and sandwiches served cold, like Ari's Open Door ($11). Ari's simple but pleasant ingredients - dense cream cheese, discs of zesty hard salami and sliced aromatic pastrami (not overly salty) - play off each other like oil and vinegar.

On the irresistible sweets front (in for a penny, in for a few extra pounds, right?), Katzinger's Stealers brownie ($2) sounds like a confused football fan. It's actually a gooey, Reese's Cup-flavored brownie laced with caramel.

My Apricot Noodle Kugel ($3; like mac-n-cheese with jam) had a stiff cap, but was otherwise creamy and comforting. Plus, it's traditional, which is fitting. Because though Katzinger's name is fake, for three decades, its deli cred has been genuine.

Photos by Meghan Ralston