Reef Dog Deli in Capitola Village is a gourmet sandwich shop that also offers grab-and-go meats and seafoods, housemade sides and snacks, and breakfast comfort food.
Just in the puppy stage of business, they opened in December 2020 and are open 8am-4pm Wednesday-Monday (Saturday until 5pm). Owner and chef Anthony Kresge has over 35 years of culinary experience, from comfort food cafés to fine dining. GT talked to him recently about the origins of the deli as well as its most inspired sandwiches.
Where did the name ‘Reef Dog’ come from?
ANTHONY KRESGE: The whole idea and concept behind our deli is to love and honor our late white Labrador named “Reef,” who was a local legend for beachgoers. He lived and loved and embraced people like we do with food. My sous chef is Aaron Cunningham, who I’ve worked with in the past, and our deli is family-owned and -operated. My wife Jennet is co-owner, and my two kids Leo and Maya work here, too. My youngest daughter Kaitlyn is only six years old, but she also helps out and greets guests with a smile, even though she’s currently missing her two front teeth.
What are the craft sandwich highlights on the menu?
I would say our housemade pastrami. It’s an elongated process of brine, cure and smoke, all done in-house. It’s served on locally made rye bread with stone ground mustard, stout caramelized onions and melted white Vermont cheddar cheese. Guests often say it rivals classic East Coast pastrami sandwiches. One sandwich that I’m most proud of is our “Maestro Giacomo,” which is a porchetta sandwich with pesto mayo and mojo de ajo—it’s an industry favorite.
Our rendition of porchetta has butterflied heritage pork tenderloin stuffed with melted fennel, herbs and chili, and rolled and wrapped with pork belly bacon. It is an homage to my late friend and colleague Jaime Pitale who I studied and worked with in southern Italy. We have many other show-stopping sandwiches, too, such as our house-smoked turkey with pickled root vegetable slaw, cranberry compote barbeque sauce and melted pepper jack cheese. We also have a local seafood sandwich called “Surf Trip,” and a vegan sandwich that rivals the meat sandwiches and is called “Happy Cow.” It’s a medley of sous vide and roasted vegetables with fresh chimichurri, a vegan olive/Sriracha aioli and smoked eggplant spread.
311 Capitola Ave., Capitola. 831-854-2184, reefdogdeli.com.