231 W. Fourth St.
One of the things I really miss when I come home from England is the abundance of little deli-groceries dotting the town. They seem to be on every corner, selling pantry basics whilst serving up hot and cold meals to go. They are perfect for nipping in and out quickly when you only want one or two things and don’t want to fight the crowds at the supermarket. Unlike their American cousin, the bodega, you won’t pay over the odds for staples like bread, milk and eggs at English corner markets.
Situated at the corner of Plum and Fourth in downtown, Caffe Barista & Deli reminds me of the beloved corner market, and this cheery little deli has one of the tastiest veggie wraps in the city. The made-to-order sandwich consists of hummus, Amish cheese, veggie yogurt cheese spread, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, green pepper and shredded carrot, enclosed in your choice of spinach, sun-dried tomato or wheat wrap. The wrap comes with half a kosher pickle and a bag of chips (your choice) for $4.50. It’s pretty much the chippity-chomp.
The deli also offers a veggie sub that is similar to the wrap but substitutes spinach-artichoke spread in place of the Amish cheese and hummus, and served on a whole wheat sub bun. If you crave something warm in your tummy, they also do freshly made pizzas – a 7” veggie runs $5.50 or go all out with a 12” for eleven bucks. The deli also boasts daily hot lunch specials that look very appetizing and are a hit with office workers, but unfortunately for me these are never vegetarian.
I like Caffe Barista; not only do they sell meals to go, they also stock an array of deli staples like mac’n’cheese and pasta salads, plus essentials like fruit, olive oil, and dairy products, as well as a small selection of soups, boxed helper-meals and snacks. Unlike the English corner market, there are no green grocer items (fresh veggies), nor do they sell “rags & fags” (newspapers and smokes), but they do offer a selection of bottled wine along with domestic and imported beer – chilled too! There is also a small dining area with a sprinkling of bistro tables and free wi-fi, so you can nosh and surf simultaneously.
They are open from 7a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays, which is better than those places around town that cater strictly to the 9-5 crowd, but it would be nice if they remained open a little later for those who live in downtown or work there after “normal” business hours. Perhaps that will happen when Middle Earth finishes the Parker Flats.