My feelings towards Cardelli’s Italian Deli are bittersweet. I suppose it is all relative in relation to our campus, but Cardelli’s Italian Deli is a delight that is a trek away. It’s a hidden restaurant in a random shopping center where a K-Mart stands tallest. The restaurant itself was clean and quaint. It wasn’t busy and they were in desperate need of customers, it seemed.
The sandwiches were large and filling. The first item, the pastrami, was fresh and was complimented nicely by the pickle, spicy mustard and marble rye bread. The next sandwich was a traditional Italian sub, exploding with flavor making my taste buds dance on the top of my tongue. Piled into a garlic roll like clowns in a car, the meats, cheeses, vegetables and condiments sat so well together. The freshness of a red pepper sitting in a bed of vinegar in between a slice of provolone cheese and pepperoni. Each bite was full of flavor and kick. The pepperoncini that added a little spice would likely cause you to conserve your can of soda, but by the end you may be swallowing saliva to fight the spice.
In essence, they were solid sandwiches. They were reasonably priced, and the lady who worked there graciously gave us a scoop of ice cream on the house. Their subtle kindness and quality food earned my business. It is, by no stretch of the imagination, a classic New York style deli. It doesn’t have the fast-paced city feel to it. It isn’t loud with meat hanging from the ceilings and butchers yelling at one another. In that respect, the comparison isn’t fair. It’s difficult to open a deli that competes with some of the greats. Deli’s like Carnegie Deli and Katz’s Deli in New York City have such a rich history to them that adds to their food.
Cardelli’s sits on top of Mt. Rubidoux, and you watch your gas meter slowly fall as you climb the mountain. It isn’t in a big city, it may not have a deli style feel to it, but at the end of the day it is about the food and the quality of taste. Cardelli’s was a great lunch and a pleasant change from the usual choices University Avenue has to offer.