Luigi’s Delicatessen, Concord CA
Nestled in a strip mall under the BART rail in downtown Concord, Luigi’s has been open for nearly 40 years and has just as many sandwiches on their menu. Zach went out with his brother Will, first to drop off a tiramisu at August’s school for a meeting, and afterwards to try Luigi’s for lunch. Will has gone with us before to take on an eating challenge; he’s a good sport and companion for going to restaurants.
When you walk in, the smell is amazing; Will describes it as if every ingredient was being freshly sliced at that moment. The line is also a sign that you can expect good things here. The deli showcase is quite a sight, with a broad selection of over 30 salads. Zach thought the cheesy dip that was sampled out while they waited for their sandwiches was rich with multiple cheeses and garlic, and had no chunks so it was smooth and creamy to go well with crackers, vegetables, or spread on sandwiches.
Of all the salads, they picked a pesto tortellini. Simple cheese tortellinis with a fresh, delicious pesto sauce were done right with three to four cheeses in the filling, good textured pasta, and rich basil, garlic, pine nut, and Parmesan layers of flavor in the pesto.
Zach ventured to get a sandwich with sprouts – he usually prefers lettuce for the greenery. The Luciano Pavarotti is standard with turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, and garlic mayonnaise along with the sprouts. Bordenave’s Bakery provides the delicious dutch crunch roll that has a great crunch on the outside but a soft inside with just a little chew. It was definitely a high quality, fresh baked bread. The turkey was freshly sliced, tender, juicy, and rich in turkey flavor. The bacon was thick cut and freshly cooked that day. All the vegetables were super fresh and abundant, and the garlic mayo was rich, creamy, and light in garlic but still deep in flavor. The sandwich was so well balanced, Zach “can definitely see why this is one of ‘Luigi’s Favorite Sandwiches’.”
Cotto salami, mortadella with fresh pistachios (that’s the tiny bit of green you see), pepperoni, mozzarella and jack cheeses, tomato, onion, and garlic mayonnaise make up this meaty monster. The bread choices include sour, sweet, seeded, onion, wheat, and dutch crunch rolls; and wheat, white, sourdough, and light and dark rye slices. Will got dutch crunch like Zach, but we can imagine all the breads are marvelous. All the meats tasted freshly sliced, and the pepperoni was particularly memorable for its flavor (in a good way). Will is “a big mortadella fan” and that was, he feels, the best he has had. Most of the salamis and Italian meats are from Molinari’s and are superb. He seconds everything said about the vegetables and garlic mayo, save the tomato – he got the sandwich as it comes with tomato for the sake of the picture but removed it to eat, and he was very happy that the tomato was so fresh, no juice had contaminated the rest of his sandwich.
Daniel, Garrett, the third guy on shift that Zach and Will chatted with, the owner of Luigi’s, and one of the food purveyors were all friendly and warm. For a tidy establishment, simple and high quality ingredients, and a friendly staff, we recommend that you try Luigi’s.