Having lived in SCV since the age of 5 and writing about food since my late teens, I’ve come to realize that there are places in town that I last visited 15-20 years ago, and haven’t revisited since. Cathy’s Deli is one such place. Over the years I have heard people refer to it, and I even know some regulars, but for whatever reason I hadn’t thought to stop by. Then I heard that it was under new ownership and that things were changing over there on Lyons Avenue.
Indeed as of a month and a half ago, Cathy’s Deli is under new ownership. Eric bought the restaurant and has big plans to give it a real breath of fresh air. The changes will be gradual with plans to make everything from scratch within a year, but lucky for us, he already has the ball rolling.
For now, most of the original menu is still in tact but they are now using fresher ingredients and better preparation. The fries are fresh cut and the hash browns are prepared in house. Eric is playing around with some potential menu ideas like this fresh berry dish with homemade whipped lemon cream cheese topping. As good as it sounds!
They have standard breakfast staples, like this all American breakfast, but the potatoes were excellent!
There are also menu board specials like chicken and waffles and sweet potato pancakes.
I opted for traditional pancakes and they did not disappoint.
As I mentioned above, for now the menu is the same, but will be evolving in the next few months. So far, it seems that the regulars that have been going to Cathy’s Deli for years are loving the subtle changes in place. Eric is really doing an excellent job transitioning the restaurant while respecting the regulars.
One of the first things we noticed is that they are now serving Stumptown Coffee! Something definitely not seen in Santa Clarita, and exciting news for Hair Bender fans. But the fun doesn’t stop there, Cathy’s Deli is making their own flavored coffee and tea creamers in house, including lemon meringue creamer! And don’t come here expecting the coffee mugs to match, this neighborhood spot is mixing things up a bit and the mugs are simply a collection of mugs Eric finds around town that he deems worthy of his restaurant.
One of my favorite parts of breakfast this morning was the homemade jam. We tried blueberry lavender, strawberry earl grey (a dream), and raspberry velvet. All three were out of this world amazing, and to top it off, they were served with Homeboy bread.
Making jam is a process, and Cathy’s Deli is committed to it. Their jam is so amazing and luckily they sell it in jars to go.
If you aren’t familiar with Homeboy Industries, it is a company that provides training and support to former gang members to help them turn their lives around. Homeboy Bakery is a favorite at the local Newhall Farmers Market (it sells out) but now you can buy your Homeboy bread at Cathy’s Deli!
If you’ve never tried their double cinnamon bread, you best ask somebody.
I take a lot of food trips, travel, and eat out at many different types of places, and I’m always looking for the neighborhood spots. It is very hard to find those types of spots in Santa Clarita. Part of the goal in co-founding eatSCV was to promote local restaurants and talk about the lack of a food scene in town and promote those that are genuinely trying. I can honestly say that the vibe I got from Cathy’s Deli today and in talking to the owner, gives me hope. Very often, I see owners walking around their restaurant with an air of superiority, not willing to bus a dirty table, or refill a coffee cup, but today was different. Eric was taking the time to walk around to each table, make small talk, get to know people, and talk about his plans for the future. In many ways, it has a very old school vibe, and something that can very well mean that the tide is turning in Santa Clarita. Could Cathy’s Deli be the place that launches a food revolution in this town? Here we have a person that grew up in the industry, with over 14 years of experience, 4 of which were in consulting, and finally he has his own place where he can implement his ideas.
Could Cathy’s Deli pave the way? Maybe. So far business has been good and it has all been through word of mouth. Right now they are only open from 7-3 everyday, but in time they want to implement a guest chef dinner series once or twice a month. Guest chefs would come in and cook for the night as a pop up. Personally, I can’t wait.
The epitome of a neighborhood spot? Carrying books by local authors. And if that wasn’t enough? Some of the decor that you see around the restaurant was dropped off by local customers because they had it at home and thought it would look better at Cathy’s Deli. It doesn’t get much more neighborhood than that.
Cathy’s Deli is located at 23120 Lyons Ave #24, Newhall, CA 91321. I look forward to going back in a few weeks when more menu changes are in place.
All photos by RE, used with permission.