Restaurant of the Week: The Deli

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The Deli, 9671 Foothill Blvd. (at Archibald), Rancho Cucamonga

The Deli is a sandwich-making institution at the epicenter of old Cucamonga, the crossroads of Foothill Boulevard (Route 66) and Archibald Avenue. It’s in half of an old market that apparently dates to the 1920s.

I don’t know the age of The Deli, but it was in full swing in 1997 when I arrived here and it’s still packed at lunchtime, with no obvious change or dropoff in quality.

It’s not an ethnic deli, just a sandwich shop. Most of the sandwiches are hot. They have dip, steak, sausage and chicken sandwiches, burgers, cold cuts, hot dogs and salads. i haven’t made a survey of the menu, but the grilled Cajun chicken breast sandwich ($6, pictured) is my standard order; the burger ($2.89) and Italian steak ($7.69) are pretty good too.

The oak-intensive interior is full of character, especially with the two model trains that chug along on tracks suspended from the ceiling (pictured) and the vintage photos of the intersection that line one wall. The soda machine stands atop an old safe. The shaded patio, which has its own order window, is a nice place to hang too.

At noon, the place is a hive of activity. (It’s open until 8 p.m.) One can’t help but notice that almost every employee is female, an observation a staff photo makes even clearer. Is The Deli an EEOC complaint waiting to happen?

Who knows, maybe it already has. When I visit I’m often reminded of the “Seinfeld” episode in which Elaine files a complaint with the feds against the diner over the pulchritude of its staff, and the investigators, two men, in the name of research become regulars.

But the eye candy is unnecessary (or a bonus, depending on your viewpoint). It’s the food, atmosphere and sense of tradition in a young city that make The Deli well worth a visit.

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  • Charles Quinn

    Does anyone remember the name of the New Mexico-style restaurant that was at the location where the Deli is now? The chile rellenos were beyond compare. They used to get their chilies from New Mexico.

    [I believe that was Rene's New Mexico. -- DA]

  • Dennis

    Hi David,

    Prior to Rene’s, I believe it was Socorro’s. They were there forever and then they moved into a new, larger building on the north side of Foothill close to Haven. Socorro’s was at the new location for several years. Then Socorro’s closed up and the building housed other restaurants, mostly Mexican as I recall. One was called The Whole Enchilada. I don’t know what is there now.

    [It is, or was, Don something. -- DA]

  • matthew w

    im sorry that i dont really agree… the food was great had the cajun chicken ceaser salad it was incredible it came with a large piece of garlic bread it was around 6 dollars very nice portion but when i went on a tuesday at 6pm the place was a ghost town and waited 5 minutes to be acknowledged by the staff “whom were in a private conversation in front of us” they were very unfriendly and seemed upset that we walked in and interrupted their little chat. We waited 20 minutes for our salads so to your readers i say if your gonna chance it go during lunch the service was horrible in the evening.

  • Charles Bentley

    GREETINGS:

    Close, David. It was Renee’s New Mexico, owned by Renee Garduno. I wrote a couple of comments regarding both Renee’s and Socorro’s on David’s blog posting “Remembering Socorro’s” back in January 2009. Here’s a link …

    http://www.insidesocal.com/davidallen/2009/01/remembering-socorros.html

    To quickly revisit my comments back then, The Deli remains a very good sandwich shop. When Socorro’s was in this location, it was excellent, but the move east on Foothill Boulevard to a larger locale proved unfortunate. And as for Renee’s, I am still searching to discover whatever became of the great woman who owned and operated one of my all-time favorite restaurants. As I said in a previous post, if anyone knows what happened once she left Las Vegas, NM, I’d love to know.

  • Ronald Scott

    The Deli is great, my fiancee and I have been there twice and haven’t had any complaints about the food. She is a sandwich freak, and The Deli meets her standards!!!

  • Nicole

    Oh how I remember and miss Renee’s New Mexico! Whenever I drive past the Deli, I think of that food. Haven’t eaten at The Deli in about ten years…..

  • ray

    Dave, I believe it was DON MARCOS ????

    [No, it was Renee's New Mexico. (See above comments.) -- DA]

  • ray

    Dave, on your aug 20th post …you said Whole Enchilada was or is Don something ????? Jeopardy answer is….What is Don Marcos… as I stated on sept 4th post.

    [You're right, Ray. By the time you commented Sept. 4, I'd forgotten the question from two weeks earlier. Sorry about that. -- DA]