Marciano’s Chicago-style deli is for sale

Brent Zega, co-owner of Marciano’s Chicago Style Deli with one of his signature sandwiches. The restaurant is for sale. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

A year and a half into what’s been a successful run, the owners of Marciano’s Chicago Style Deli on Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country have put the restaurant up for sale.

“It’s been amazing, but the deli needs someone who can push the business harder than I can push it,” said co-owner Brent Zega. “Family needs to come first, and business second.”

Zega believes the deli’s reputation and unique market niche should attract buyers. “Look at the history we’ve built in a year and a half,” he said. “We have four and a half stars on Yelp, along with other positive social media, and we have a hook because we’re the only Chicago-style anything in town.”

The ideal buyer would build on a successful catering business while opening multiple locations of the restaurant, Zega said. That would free the restaurant to add deep-dish Chicago-style pizza to its menu. A lease restriction due to a neighboring pizza shop prevents Marciano’s from selling pizza at its current location.

“Deep-dish pizza is an open opportunity in the Santa Clarita Valley,” he said.

The closest Zega comes to making pizza at Marciano’s is one of its signature dishes, the Deep Dish Chicago Pot Pie. He describes it as a marriage of traditional pot pies and deep dish Chicago pizza. He uses his pizza dough, with a cornmeal and butter recipe, as crust and top of the pies. It is filled with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Custom fillings can be ordered a day in advance.

“I’ve been here since 1988, and we have other delis, many of which I love. But we’ve got the only Vienna dog in town, the only Chicago pot pie. The nearest Italian beef sandwich to us is in Burbank.”

The best seller on the current menu is the “Papa Ron,” named for Zega’s father and business partner, which Zega said outsells everything else by about four to one.

The sandwich features salami, capicola, mortadella and prosciutto, served on a hoagie roll with sharp provolone cheese, deli style mustard, and garnished “Marciano’s way” with a drizzle of garlic olive oil and red wine vinaigrette.

Running a restaurant is fun, but there’s a lot more to running the business than “throwing on a smile and making a sandwich,” Zega said, citing legal issues, taxes, insurance, along with the price of beef, deli meats and cheese. “We take a hit when prices go up and reap the rewards when prices fall, but through it all, we have to maintain a consistent product.”

The business is listed for $199,000 with broker Patricia Lundin of HomeBased Realty.

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