Robb Venditti, the longtime Sacramento chef who helped make Pangaea Bier Café a dining as well as beer-drinking destination, has opened his own small deli in the Tahoe Park neighborhood.
“It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood,” Venditti said.
Venditti is selling gourmet sandwiches and salads – like a tasty one we tried Thursday that held achiote-marinated shrimp, red onion, cucumber and greens with a sherry vinaigrette – as well as house-made dips such as hummus and tapenade, out of his existing catering business.
Most items run less than $9 and are 30 percent Friday, Aug. 18, during the deli’s soft-opening phase. The deli is open until 2:30 p.m. Friday, and will begin its regular 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday schedule next week.
Venditti was head chef at Pangaea when it drew 3 1/2 stars (out of four) in a January 2015 dining review by The Bee’s Blair Anthony Robertson. Venditti crafted the now-famous, award-winning burger still being served there. He left Pangaea later in 2015 to focus on his catering business.
There will not be any burgers at the deli, because “I’ve done burgers,” Venditti said. But he never owned a place before this one.
He always intended to open a restaurant, but a couple of attempts fell through, he said, and having two young children prompted him to reconsider the “60-70-hour weeks” required to be a chef/restaurateur. The catering and deli businesses are more manageable.
Venditti said he opened the deli “to have a little place for the neighborhood ... and to kind of do a little bit of advertising” for his catering company.
“Selland’s (Market-Café and catering) is one of my favorite business models ever,” he said.
But he came up in catering with Mulvaney’s, working as catering chef and at Crocker Art Museum when Mulvaney’s ran its café. Venditti credits Mulvaney’s co-owner Bobbin Mulvaney as inspiration for some of his deli items, like the Parmesan lavash he sells to go with dips. He also worked with Bacon & Butter’s Billy Zoellin while at Mulvaney’s.
Venditti said he wants the deli to eventually stay open until 7 p.m. and offer prepared dinners to go.
For information, call 916-400-3286 or visit rossicatering.com.