Roxi Deli: The best deli sandwich in Sacramento?

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The original Roxie Deli, which opened in 1975 in San Francisco, is booming. But Chris Tannous, who moved to Roseville from the Bay Area in 1999, wanted his own place. And for East Sacramentans, it’s a wondrous thing Tannous got his wish.

Like the original, the East Sacramento location of Roxie Deli is now thriving, too, with a simple equation for success: great sandwiches made in an old-style deli that offers friendly service.

New store signage — bright red and black letters in slick cursive lettering that complement the market’s history — proudly marked the opening of the East Sacramento location in May 2005.

Roxie Deli breakfast specials menu. All images © James Raia

Tannous spent much of his childhood working in the San Francisco location. At age 6, he stocked shelves. Six years later, he began making sandwiches. As an adult, after a career  in the high-tech industry, he returned to the deli business in Sacramento as the Roxi co-owner with his wife.

When Tannous left the deli world, he studied aeronautical engineering and worked in the fiber optics field. But he hated it and returned to expand the family business.

Tannous seemingly always has fun. Enter the deli, particularly as the lunch hour approaches, and there’s a steady banter between employees and customers.

There’s a good supply of market items, soda to packaged goods, beer and wine and homemade salads. But Roxie is at its best with sandwiches. It’s as if a corner deli in Manhattan has found its way to 34th & C Streets.

On the wall behind the deli area and cash register is an array of black-and-white framed photographs, mostly of former Roxie owners.

The mix of old and new — walk-in cold boxes, an ancient cement floor and sandwiches wrapped in butcher paper — give market a welcomed infusion of regular visitors.

There’s not much not to like about the place, but the sandwiches are the signature offering.

Workers ready for orders at Roxie Deli

The house special is the pastrami and turkey combination. The pastrami is sliced thin and heated, with sliced turkey added in plentiful chunks. Add a small arsenal of vegetables and the concoction barely fits into the half-dozen bread or roll options (the best is Dutch crunch).

The meatball and veggie sandwiches also have loyal fans, and the recent additions of outdoor cookers have attracted a new corps of tri-tip and pulled-pork fans.

Three sandwich sizes are offered, with the small plenty for a regular appetite. The regular size, cut in half, is plenty for two. And the large sandwich? Invite a few friends to lunch and you can share it.

(Roxie Deli, 340 C St., Sacramento, Ca. Tel. (916) 443-4302; website: www.roxiedeli.com; Hours:  Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat.  8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.)

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