Portia Medina/ The Bull
Nestled between an optometrist and a locksmith in a large strip mall on the south east corner of Devonshire Street and Mason Avenue is where you will find San Carlo Italian Deli. The small suburban storefront houses two rows of authentic Italian groceries just across from the deli counter where you place your order.
The deli case is stocked and piled high with meets and cheeses including salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, provolone, mozzarella and more. Fresh baked golden brown hard and soft rolls for sandwiches sit in baskets behind the cash register. And just below that, chocolate covered biscotti, sprinkle covered cookies, and powdered sugar dusted pastries are sold for $9.99 a pound. Up on the wall behind the deli counter is the menu with a handful of hot Italian specialties cooked to order.
For example, the stuffed shells take about 15 to 20 minutes to prepare, but they are well worth the wait. The shells are served with a couple slices of garlic bread perfect for dipping. The herbs and spices float on your tongue in the fresh and thick tomato sauce surrounding the shells.
An ample helping of the fluffy ricotta mixture fills the stuffed shells and they are blanketed with tons of gooey mozzarella. The mozzarella is sweet and practically melts in your mouth.
Their sandwiches are a staple and the San Carlo Special (Italian Sub) is a particular treat. Another store favorite is the meatball sub with meatballs the size of your fist graciously topped with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella on fresh baked bread.
San Carlo Italian Deli has been owned and operated by Giovanni Roberto and his family since 1975. The original location of the deli was in Panorama City and in 1992 they moved to 10178 Mason Avenue in Chatsworth.
Everyone who works at the deli cooks the meals using Isabella’s (mom’s) original recipes. Giovanni and Isabella or one of their two sons are always there to greet the regulars and make the first-timers feel at home.
Patrons of the deli know each other well and greet each other with handshakes and hugs. The place is usually packed around lunchtime, but they move quickly to take care of everybody in a timely fashion.
There are two rows of small square tables inside and a few more tables in front on the patio. The back wall of the deli is a refrigerator filled with beer, wine, and old-fashioned bottled sodas in a variety of flavors.
Autographed pictures of actors and soccer players are scattered on the wall above the tables. Also appreciation awards from the police department, Los Angeles County, and the fire department among others cover the wall.
You can finish off your meal with a slice of homemade cheesecake or a Sicilian cannoli. The homemade cannoli is like a little tube of heaven filled with sweet creamy ricotta and crunch chocolate chips. The top is dusted with powdered sugar and a half of a maraschino cherry sits on either end of the cannoli.
San Carlo Italian Deli is the kind of place you just want to go and hang out for a while. Almost everything on the menu is under $10 except for the pizzas. If you’ve never been you may wind up sitting with strangers who quickly become friends. And be sure that they will remember you the next time you come in.
San Carlo Italian Deli
10178 Mason Avenue, Chatsworth, CA 91311
Mon – Fri 9:00am – 6:30pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:30pm
Credit and Cash for payment
Food to go or eat there