Can this Deli Make the Corner of Carrillo and Santa Barbara Streets a Hub?
The corner of Carrillo and Santa Barbara streets must be one of the busiest in town for car traffic, but it’s oddly lacking in pedestrians. Though there’s plenty of offices around and it sits smack between our fancy courthouse and El Presidio State Park — two of the hottest spots for visitors — that corner often seems like a ghost town, both on the weekends and weekdays. And perhaps that is why so many delis and mini-marts have shuffled through the building at 135 East Carrillo, from the Whale Tail to the Four Seasons and many more far before those.
But now there’s a new challenger in town staking claim to the space with the goods to finally make it stick. After a few months of needed facelifting, The (805) Deli swooped in to the corner’s hopeful rescue. Run by the husband and wife team of Todd and Anne Pazier, who opened the deli to be able to spend more time together as a family, The (805) Deli offers the right mix of ingredients to survive and even make this busy-yet-somehow-vacant corner a new off-State Street hub of downtown dining and shopping.
As a resident of the neighborhood, I happened to walk in the deli one recent morning, appeased by the offering of a less-than-$5 breakfast burrito. Though it was only about 10:15 a.m., I opted for a “design your own” sandwich. I went for chicken salad with crumbled bleu cheese on sourdough, topped with “The Works” (lettuce, tomato, red onion, pepperoncini, and pickles) as well as dijon mustard, sprouts, cucumber, and a dash of Italian dressing. (For the topping lovers, there is also yellow mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce, black olives, and, for extra money, bacon, avocado, and roasted red peppers.) And to drink, a massive iced tea of the do-it-yourself, free refill sort, which made my guzzling mouth and dehydrated brain happy.
Also on the menu are pizzas from American Flatbread in Los Alamos for $7.95 and a ton of signature sandwiches in the $8 range “inspired by some of our favorite (805) locations”: the Rincon Reuben, the Santa Ynez Rancher (roast beef, cheddar, and horseradish), Court House Club, American Riviera (Italian sub), Gaviota Gobbler, Firehouse Chicken (buffalo chicken and bleu cheese), Tri-County Tri-Tip, and Ventura Veggie. The day’s soups were cheddar broccoli and Italian wedding. (Read their full menu here.)
As I waited for the sando, I walked around the store, noticing their holiday wine sale (Kalyra, SB Winery, and Laetitia all on sale!!), their full coolers of soda and beer, their amply stacked salad bar in the middle of the one room, and the shelves of 805 clothing for sale near the front. A TV in the upper corner of the deli played VH1 above a man who was eating a breakfast burrito and reading the paper. I also learned that the owners also run Central Coast Gift Basket, a fiercely local service that offers baskets of Firestone beer, spa products, baby stuff, wines and gourmet treats, and custom/corporate gifts. As such, they’re banking on doing lots of corporate lunches, and even their website touts their ability to provide for 50 or more diners. Soon enough, about halfway through my first iced tea, the sandwich arrived.
Though I planned to take it to go, I figured it would be just as easy to eat in. So I did, and watched a handful of folks come through the door between chomps. The sandwich was good, the zesty chicken salad getting the right treatment from the bleu cheese. I’m not sure why I didn’t order one of their specialty sandwiches, because I only saved $1 on this one; I will when I return, because that is the true mark of a deli. As for the foot traffic, it wasn’t busy by any means, but people are surely taking note, and I’m sure that by lunchtime, the outdoor tables along Santa Barbara Street get filled.
And let’s hope they stay filled, because this part of town, while stacked with sandwich slangers like Panino and Three Pickles, certainly needs a reliable place to buy a cheaper lunch plus cold beer, endless iced teas, 805 gear, overflowing salads, and good wine for affordable prices. Plus, we dig the localism inspired by the place, so stop by, support The (805) Deli, and make the corner of Carrillo and Santa Barbara streets the hub it deserves to be.
The Details: The (805) Deli is located at 135 East Carrillo Street. Call 962-5596 or see www.the805deli.com. For more on Central Coast Gift Basket, see www.centralcoastgiftbasket.com or call 692-4013.