Best Sandwich

February 14, 2007
California Aggie - Best of Davis

1. Zia's Delicatessen
2. Nugget Market
3. ASUCD Coffee House

Zia's Delicatessen is a full-service deli known especially for its famous sandwiches.

Located at 616 Third St. and established in 1995 by Kevin and Anne Marie Crilly, Zia's serves the "finest quality and tries to have the best customer service possible," Anne Marie said.

The couple initially started their business because they did not feel there were any real delis in Davis, Anne Marie said.

"We wanted to take control of our own destiny rather than working in corporate America," she added.

Anne Marie is a first-generation Italian; her father was a butcher for nearly 50 years.

Kevin said opening Zia's "was a natural fit because of Anne Marie's background with her family."

The Crillys work full-time and two of their family members work at Zia's also. The majority of workers are UC Davis students who work part-time.

"The bulk has been students who work their way through college -- it's nice and we like it," Anne Marie Crilly said.

Students and community members alike share a love for the sandwiches at Zia's deli.

The most popular meat item on the menu is the Viareggio, which consists of turkey, smoked mozzarella, pesto mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. The Livorno is the most popular vegetarian sandwich and consists of fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Kevin's favorite sandwich is the imported prosciutto and Anne Marie's favorite is the Prosciutto Cotto, which comes with fresh mozzarella and basil grilled on a ciabatta roll with oil and vinegar inside.

"We're very grateful for all our clientele and we really enjoy students and meeting families," Anne Marie said. "We've had customers with us since the day we started 12 years ago."

First-time Zia's customer Bob Cannon said he enjoyed his meatball sandwich.

"I was driving by looking for some place to eat -- I don't like chains. I prefer local places with a little character," he said.

Customer Jim Hardesty, 45, said, "I like a deli over Subway any day."

Second-place winner for the best sandwich was the Nugget Market grocery store, with locations at 1414 E. Covell Blvd. and 409 Mace Blvd. In third place is the ASUCD Coffee House in UC Davis' Memorial Union.

© California Aggie, February 14, 2007