A Walnut Creek classic: Genova Deli

The first name that comes to mind when someone in Walnut Creek says “deli” is probably Morucci’s. Nothing wrong with that! However, keep in mind that Genova Delicatessen – located between CVS and Philz Coffee on Mt. Diablo Blvd. and S. California Blvd. – is also a Walnut Creek staple! It also has a second location on Treat Blvd on the backside of Safeway on Bancroft.

Genova is a classic Italian deli, where you choose your own bread and take a number before presenting both at the counter and getting a scrumptious, hefty sandwich made for you by any member of the quick, friendly staff. There are hot items as well, and desserts like cannoli and espresso.

Genova opened in Oakland in 1926 and their recipes (and family) come from beautiful Genova, a small port city in Northern Italy. They also have their own factory where they create authentic Italian entrees, raviolis, sauces, pastas, etc. When I recently went to grab a sandwich, during lunch on a weekend, it was packed with groups – from families getting a couple sandwiches up to a box full for a sports team!

For years I have been trying to recreate a sandwich for a local sub shop in Sparks, NV where I grew up: Roast beef on a french roll with sprouts, mayo, red onions and a vinegar & oil sprinkle. I keep trying to find a deli who can match it, so far Domincos in Danville has come the closest. I think it is because they have regular vinegar and not basaltic.

If the lines are too long at Morucci’s, or you simply want to mix it, give Genova Deli a try – I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. They recently emailed me 20% off for coming in and wanting me to come back, but it has a very short life – a week and they don’t honor it even if you are a day past the date.

Philz brings an energetic twist to WC coffee scene

In the plaza next to Genova Deli and CVS, the old Marie Callendar’s space has been overtaken and it couldn’t look any more different. Whereas Marie Callendar’s was your typical homey, but outdated diner, now the new space is full of color, music, art and mostly millennials sipping their craft coffee.

That’s right, the new coffee in town is Philz, a national chain that emphasizes creativity and friendliness at their locations. I went there recently and was amazed by how packed it was. In fact, it was difficult to even find parking in that massive lot because of it.

As with many coffee shops now, the walls in the sitting area were covered with art from a featured artist and the walls were as colorful as the baristas themselves. Between battling for tips (Destiny’s Child vs. TLC was the battle du jour on the tip jars when I was there), asking exactly what type of coffee I “felt like” so they could create the perfect concoction, and the sheer amount of joy they seemed to take in their work, I really had fun on my visit.

I ordered a Phil-tered Soul, and it was really delicious coffee. They take a little longer to make than most places because they only do pour-over coffee at Philz. Also, they have some small food items and pastries that looked delicious, I tried their zucchini bread – it had chocolate chips which I don’t particularly like with zucchini. I will go back but only on occasion! ¬†Of course, as with all specialty coffee, they come with a hefty price tag of $3.95-$5.00 or more.