Carving out a niche |

Carving out a niche

The first thing you need to know about a Beach Hut deli sandwich is that it’s big enough to split.

The second is that its made with extra fresh garnish, such as lettuce, red onions and tomatoes and my favorite, avocados.

You also should know that the deli is clean, the workers are friendly and efficient. My only real complaint: I could do without some of the music playing in the background, such as Queen, but I was told it’s going to be turned down.

I took a longtime friend of the newspaper, Robert Steuber of Grass Valley, to the deli Tuesday for lunch. I wanted to thank him for some recent citizen journalist reports and also to see if he could help fix an antique pocketwatch that belonged to my grandpa. Robert can do that too.

I chose the Beach Hut deli because of all the uproar it had caused: being a franchise in the historic district. Parking is a little tight, so I dropped Robert off in front and parked around the corner. If you’re on your feet, it’s a perfect location.

Robert ordered a medium-sized pastrami on rye. I ordered a small “surfin’ bird”: turkey, avocado, bacon and cream cheese.

His was $8.75 and mine was $6.90, bringing the total to $16.88 with tax. We drank water. The soda selection was the usual setup: from spigots. I saw some cans of Arizona iced tea. A nice touch might have been some fresh-made iced tea.

Though the price might seem a little high, consider this: It definitely is a step above a Subway, Quiznos, even Togos, and the sandwiches are stuffed with meat and garnish. My wife and I could have split the small one.

Robert took the other half of his medium-sized sandwich home. (He apparently wasn’t the first, because the owner gladly wrapped his up in a to-go bag).

The deli meats – turkey breast, roast beef and pastrami, for example – are good. The avocado on my sandwich was exceptional. The bread is fresh.

To provide some context, my all-time favorite deli sandwich is a hot pastrami on rye from Katz’s deli in lower Manhattan in New York but it goes for $14.95. (You definitely can split this one, though). Once I ordered pastrami from Katz’s deli, shipped overnight, for a special occasion. It was excellent, but my wife sighed when she saw the bill.

I’ve also grabbed a “veggie delight” from Subway in a pinch (only $5 for a foot-long one).

The Beach Hut deli sandwich is a great choice. I could go for the “surfin’ bird’ regularly.

Much has been made of the deli’s beach-themed decor. We sat in a booth under the infamous palm tree and beach mural (not a Yuba River scene). Our table was shaped like a surfboard.

The counter staff work black aprons, though when they turned around, I noticed a more beach-themed garb underneath (hula shirts and shorts for some).

The decor is super clean and it’s fun. You’d never see any of this from the outside of the deli anyway – in the hallowed historic district. The flat-screen TVs were cool. (I knew Beach Hut deli and Dos Banditos had something in common).

As I said, the music was a bit loud where we were sitting, but the owner said they plan on turning it down.

All told, the deli is an asset to the downtown. It’s a good place to get a sandwich to go if you want to walk to a park or get a sandwich for a trip to a real body of water – the Yuba River.

I enjoy the other delis and sandwich shops in town (PJ’s Ruben sandwich for $6.95, including chips, on marbled rye in Seven Hills is a favorite, as is an SPD deli sandwich) and will continue to patronize them too. I persuaded PJ’s to carry smoked bacon from Meadow Farms in Bishop, and it’s a big hit with other customers too, I hear.

There’s room for all these stores to exist peacefully, and I still recommend a chicken taco a la carte with guacamole at Dos Banditos.

Bon appetit.

To contact Editor Jeff Pelline, e-mail or call 477-4235.

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