Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 24th
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From Rough Seas to the Trees

dining castellisFormer owner of Wharf Bait Shop makes a splash with Felton Italian deli

The students at San Lorenzo Valley High School may be some of the luckiest in the county since the opening of Castelli’s Deli-Café last summer. Adjacent to the school’s parking lot, the restaurant serves pizza, salads, sandwiches, desserts and ice cream novelties, in addition to caffeinated beverages made from Italian Lavazza coffee.

After losing her lease for Andy’s Bait and Tackle on the wharf to make way for a larger Gilbert Family restaurant, owner Chris Castelli decided to open an Italian deli. Extensive upgrades to the interior of the tidy white building with brick red trim included new counters and a pizza oven.

The short breakfast menu ($1 to $5.25) includes bagels, breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches on bagels or English muffins, and fresh fruit.

Although Castelli still offers the burgers, hot dogs and clam chowder she served on the wharf, the deli menu is packed with an array of creative combinations of quality ingredients.

Four-cheese ravioli ($4.95 per dozen) and lasagna ($6.99) feature house-made pasta. Meatballs ($1.25 each) are covered with marinara sauce which also can be purchased separately. Salads ($4.95 to $6.95) include Caesar, greens with cranberries, feta and pecans with raspberry vinaigrette, spinach with hard-boiled egg, bacon, red onions and mushrooms, and a chopped Italian antipasto with salami, provolone pepperoncini and artichoke hearts. Side salads ($2.50 for 8 ounces) include pesto pasta, potato and caprese. Deli meats such as salumi and Zacky Farms roast turkey are sold by the pound as is a selection of cheeses.

For pizza, start with an 8-inch ($5.99) or 16-inch ($11.99) cheese or pepperoni pizza, and adorn it with any of the 15 toppings ($1 each). Our small cheese pizza was delivered to our table outside on the oak tree-shaded deck. The house-made dough was rolled paper-thin but still soft. The sauce was bright with tomato purée, which I thought could benefit from more herbs. The layer of mozzarella cheese was thick and elastic.

The selection of sandwiches is immense. You can create your own, choosing from a collection of 10 breads and 13 meats and cheeses ($5.89) with mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and pepperoncini. Other add-ons ($1 each) include spicy cured Coppa, smoked Gouda cheese, domestic prosciutto, pesto, olive tapenade and roasted red bell peppers.

There is also a hefty list of specialty sandwiches. The cashier recommended the Gladiator ($6.75) just as a customer entered the door and seconded the motion. A pile of shaved, peppery pastrami was joined by spicy red and green banana peppers, melted Swiss cheese, and garlic-horseradish spread on a shiny sourdough roll.

The Milano ($6.75) was served on brown hoagie-shaped squaw bread with spicy brown mustard. I asked that it be heated, which melted the sharp white cheddar over the smoked turkey and thin slices of creamy avocado.

Homemade sweets include chocolate-chocolate chip cookies ($1), coffee cake ($1.50), and miniature red velvet cupcakes ($2).  


Castelli’s Deli-Café, 6965 Hwy 9, Felton, 335-1000. Open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays. Visit

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