This week, we're talking about those little tucked-away delis inside large downtown office structures, places that mainly cater to the suits upstairs. They're the places to which people retreat on cold winter days to avoid going outside, and places that visitors to those buildings duck into on a whim, upon discovery.
Without full-on kitchens, they could be labeled glorified snack bars, but that'd be selling short some of their potential and prowess. Even a tuna salad sandwich can be dressed to impress, and a side of chips isn't always a cop-out.
The main aspect that makes loyal patrons out of neighbors, though: These delis are cheap and beyond easy, even with a whole lot of brick and mortar around them, physically speaking.
Good 2 Go
2 N. Cascade Ave., Suite P1-A, 632-2939
Squeezed inside the Holly Sugar Building's first-level parking garage, 4½-year-old Good 2 Go is the playground of chef/co-owner Nikole Rincon, who grew up in her parents' California fondue restaurants. She claims to know local employees by their first names and their go-to items.
The recipes are her own, and her daily specials ($7.95, with salad) are the main attraction. Think delicious smoked tri-tip — I got a sample after she learned who I was — or hearty beef and lamb shepherd's pie. Winter brings four daily soups, if Colorado Coffee Merchants espresso drinks aren't warming enough on their own.
On the regular menu, the Pollo ($4.25) speaks well for a highly serviceable sandwich assortment: moist chicken with sprouts or lettuce under a sweet cranberry sauce, spread on cinnamon-y raisin bread. — Matthew Schniper
111 S. Tejon St., 635-4111
The first-floor "deli" in the Plaza of the Rockies has an uncomfortably weird atmosphere. On the day I visit, it's as if each of the mostly middle-aged workers has brought a quiet dourness into the space with them. Consequently, seemingly rushed conversations are held with lowered voices. The loudest sound is the guy at the counter, hollering breakfast and lunch orders back to the kitchen.
Those are orders like the Philly cheesesteak ($5.99, with chips), which joins other sandwiches, soups and salads as cheap, quick stomach-fillers. But like the deli itself, the sandwich is off. There's soft white bread, juicy steak and grilled green peppers and onions, but no real flavor: nothing to the meat, other than heat; nothing to the vegetables but texture. It's got structure, but little soul. — Bryce Crawford
270 S. Tejon St., 448-7700
The cafe's named after proprietor Paul Pichardo, who's legally blind and operating the business under the direction of the federal Randolph-Sheppard Act, passed in 1936 to mandate employment opportunities for blind people in vending facilities operated by the government. Tucked in the basement of the county courthouse, its food isn't necessarily worth a trip through the ever-present metal detectors, but it does offer a comfy touch for the courthouse-bound.
We grabbed the pre-made tuna salad, which, at $3.59 with Sun Chips, would be a bargain anywhere. As textbook as it gets, the white-bread sandwich is chilled, creamy and smooth, with just touches of pickle and onion. Also on the menu, for similarly low prices: breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy, and a bevy of burgers. — Bryce Crawford