If you’re craving food from the windy city, you don’t need a plane ticket, just a drive into Canyon Country. Marciano’s Chicago Style Deli was not only deemed the go-to sandwich shop for Super Bowl Sunday on KTLA’s “Burrous’ Bites,” it has become the destination for hungry SCV residents since March 11 of last year.
“It’s been great,” says owner Brent Zega. “The first year is always tough. When any chef or any business that has to do with something you create with your own hands, when you open that up to the critics, to the public, it’s a big leap of faith. We’ve had an overwhelming response. We’re over 60,000 sandwiches, dogs and salads served our first year. We’re right about 25,000 orders.”
And just in time for his first anniversary, Zega rolled out a new personal creation: Deep Dish Chicago Pot Pie. He describes it as a marriage between traditional pot pies and deep dish Chicago pizza. He uses his pizza dough, with its cornmeal and butter recipe, as both the crust and top of the pies. It is filled with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and you can request four fillings of your choice, as long as you call 24 hours in advance. He has pies ready-made, but needs notice for custom orders.
The small size feeds 2-3 people and weighs 2.75-3 pounds, and the large pies, for about 4-5 diners, averages 5 pounds. You can pick up some pies to reheat at home, plus Marciano’s has an extensive catering menu. Everything on the cold side of the menu is available, plus the popular “Da Beef,” which is a Chicago style Italian beef sandwich. There are plenty of sides to order, including chips and potato salad, and you can purchase meats and cheeses by the pound.
When Zega describes Marciano’s his passion bubbles over like his grandmother’s meatball recipe.
“I was born in an Italian family, so it’s always about the food, right?” he jokes. “Traditional Italian cooking is just four to five ingredients – it’s about the freshness, using fresh vegetables and high quality ingredients. I’m going back to the old school and literally bringing back the simple flavors that are lost in history.”
That’s the added bonus when you talk to Zega – you learn a lot about history.
“Italians were poor in this country,” Zega says, as he describes the cooking that went into a piece of meat they would get about once a week, before describing the history behind his meatless fare. “We serve a traditional pepper and egg, which is a lost sandwich, very popular during lent. They used to make them and pack them for lunch.”
The philosophy of Marciano’s also includes an alternative to the hurried lifestyle of modern times.
“Everybody cuts corners,” Zega says. “We’re about the tradition of true flavors, so you’re able to actually taste all four meats in the Papa Ron Italian Cold Cut sandwich.”
The secret of his success?
“Using high quality ingredients,” Zega says. “Pricewise, we’re within 50 cents of the sandwich shops in Santa Clarita, yet we’re using much better, fresher ingredients. You can taste it when you bite into it.”
Marciano’s is known for the Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich, which was also featured on KTLA Channel 5.
“The important thing is we’re the only Chicago style anything in this valley,” Zega says. “It’s amazing how many Chicagoans actually live in California. We strive to give them a piece of home.”
“I love our clients, I love our regulars,” he says.
And though he reaches back for the basics of his business, it isn’t likely to stay static. Zega’s final thoughts when he looks at Marciano’s at the one-year mark: “Keep pushing, keep innovating.”
Marciano’s Chicago Style Deli is located at 18635 Soledad Canyon Road #104 in Canyon Country; (661) 299-1100. www.marcianosdeli.com