Restaurant News & Reviews

Gourmet Deli at Old Edna fills bellies on the SLO wine trail

The Toscana panini at The Gourmet Deli at Old Edna features thin-sliced lean ham with aged sharp provolone cheese, roma tomatoes, pepperoncini and freshly made pesto using locally grown basil.
The Toscana panini at The Gourmet Deli at Old Edna features thin-sliced lean ham with aged sharp provolone cheese, roma tomatoes, pepperoncini and freshly made pesto using locally grown basil. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Whether you’re wine tasting in the Edna Valley or just in the neighborhood looking for a bite, check out the menu at The Gourmet Deli at Old Edna. It’s a mouthful to say, but your taste buds will thank you.

Located at the charming Old Edna Townsite south of the airport, the deli is operated by Sextant Wines and shares space with the label’s tasting room.

With its vintage décor and rustic character, the circa-1908 building warmly reflects the area’s history. Back in the day, the tasting room once housed a mercantile, and the deli was the local post office.

There are a few tables inside at the front of the tasting room, but most deli patrons opt to relax outside, where they can absorb the historic ambiance and listen to the contented chickens clucking nearby. (The patio is also pet-friendly for well-behaved, leashed dogs.)

The Gourmet Deli’s menu represents a trio of efforts pulled together and plated by manager Keely Diamantopoulos.

On any given day that you walk in the door, maybe you’ll be met by the aromas of the onions she’s caramelizing for a Philly cheesesteak Stromboli, or find her serving a slice of a just-baked quiche made with farm-fresh eggs, or hear her mixing up another batch of the popular balsamic and Caesar salad dressings — which the deli will soon be bottling and selling.

The deli also offers four gourmet sandwiches made on freshly baked ciabatta rolls that can be enjoyed as is or toasted into panini. Those are supplied pre-made by local chef Scott Liddi, and include as much locally sourced and organic ingredients as possible. Options include the Roasted Roma Caprese with fresh mozzarella, the Rio de la Plata with thinly sliced steak, chimichurri and Manchego cheese, the Toscano with ham and Provolone, and the Dane Bird with turkey breast, Havarti cheese and cranberry pesto.

All are served with a mixed green salad and your choice of one of those housemade dressings, or go for an entrée-sized kale salad that can be made gluten-free without croutons and/or topped off with grilled chicken breast. In addition, among the available side dishes are seasonal fruit salads, a coleslaw made with blueberries, and a potato salad.

We really want to give people the feeling of Old Edna.

Amy Griffith, Sextant’s director of hospitality

The third leg of the deli’s culinary lineup is Vernie Ogden and his Central Barbecue.

Every Thursday evening, Ogden arrives to fire up the big smoker sitting in front of the deli. After putting on the meats — and often other goodies such as corn and jalapeños — he essentially babysits them overnight in true pitmaster fashion, turning them and adjusting the fire accordingly.

Throughout the weekend, and as long as they last into the week, Ogden’s Texas-style smoked meats make their way into various deli dishes such as pulled pork tacos with mustard coleslaw, brisket tacos with guacamole or even a smoked turkey salad.

As the only such food establishment in the area, The Gourmet Deli at Old Edna obviously gets its fair share of visitors who are out wine tasting. Those patrons can order box lunches to go, or they may even select a cheese and charcuterie plate to enjoy while they’re sampling Sextant’s wines.

“We can also tailor onsite events for groups (with advance notice),” said Amy Griffith, Sextant’s director of hospitality. Those might include special food and wine pairings, a tour of the townsite and seeing the historic MacGregor Vineyard — planted in the 1970s and thus one of the first vineyards in the area.

“We really want to give people the feeling of Old Edna,” said Griffith.

Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at ktbudge@sbcglobal.net.

The Gourmet Deli at Old Edna

1653 Old Price Canyon Road (near intersection of Edna Road and Price Canyon)

San Luis Obispo

544-EDNA (3362)

sextantwines.com/Visit-Us/The-Gourmet-Deli

(For information about the townsite, go to oldedna.com)

Hours: Daily from 10 a.m., Monday-Friday until 3 p.m., Saturday-Sunday until 4 p.m.

The scene: Soak up a bit of local history at the Old Edna Townsite and sample the lineup of Sextant Wines; plenty of parking; pet-friendly.

The cuisine: housemade salads, quiches and desserts team up with gourmet panini and Texas-style smoked meats; coffee drinks and box lunches available, as are cheese and charcuterie platters for larger groups (advance notice required).

Expect to spend: Entrées $11-13, sides $3.50-5.50, box lunches $19.

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