South of Shaw but not quite downtown, there is a deli… this deli is unlike any other deli in Fresno. It has every authentic Italian ingredient you can think of, and most of it’s made in house! Sam’s Italian Deli is, without a doubt, one of the best authentic delis in the Fresno area and for years, yours truly has shopped there for all my cheeses, deli meats and other authentic Italian ingredients.
Keeping with tradition, Sam’s Italian Deli is family owned and operated, and Sam can often times be found working the deli counter. His Wife Angela is usually in the back making everything from her take-home pastas to homemade tiramisu. Their son Nick manages the wine corner but one thing they do not do is stand around. Sam’s is a busy place! Any given day, you can expect to take a number at the deli counter but that doesn’t mean you’ll be waiting long. Their full-service deli counter is a well-oiled machine and their friendly staff is fast, efficient and super friendly.
Let’s talk cheese… Sam’s has cheese and lots of it! The first thing you’ll notice about the deli counter at Sam’s is the impressive collection of cheeses from around the world. Being an Italian deli, you’d expect them to have hard parmesan and mozzarella, but they also have double Gloucestershire from England, chevre from France, havarti from Denmark, limberger from Belgium, manchego from Spain and a myriad of other cheeses representing every flag imaginable. All those wonderful cheeses aside, they also keep domestic wheels in stock for those people who just want some good old American cheddar or Monterey jack. Their prices are also very reasonable.
Now to get to the “meat” of it all… Bad pun? Sorry. Back to the subject though, Sam’s has an incredible selection of meats including your Italian favorites as well as what you’re used to. Whether you need some Lorenzo Vino Rosso Salame or just some ground beef, Sam’s has you covered. The best thing about their meats though? Many of them are made in house! Yes, you heard me right. They make their own sausage, cure their own salamis, roast their own beef and if you want a real treat, try some of Sam’s homemade prosciutto! It’s right on par with top quality San Danielle leg and just a fraction of the price. Anytime I cook with prosciutto, you can bet it’s Sam’s! Seriously good stuff…
On top of just meat and cheese, Sam’s has a complete line of authentic take-home dinners lovingly made by Angela Marziliano using the freshest ingredients possible. Lasagna, ravioli, eggplant parmesan, risotto, veal parmesan and tiramisu are just a few of the items she shares with the Fresno community and you can taste Italian Amore in every bite! They love food and it shows.
Even though their take-home food is fantastic, the Marzilianos know that many of their customers prefer to do their own cooking, so they’ve made sure to stock every authentic Italian ingredient possible. The shelves are lined with a huge assortment of pastas, olive oils, vinegars, artichokes hearts, capers, risottos, olives, anchovies, etc… When I go shopping at Sam’s, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I can easily spend a few hundred dollars buying stuff for my test kitchen, but it’s all worth it!
Besides the canned and boxed goods, Sam’s also has a selection of freshly baked breads to choose from. All their breads are made in house using the finest ingredients and the Marzilianos are artists when it comes to making attractive loaves. I highly recommend their braided ciabatta with a little olive oil and balsamic…
Nothing goes better with authentic Italian cuisine than good wine and Sam’s has vino! Sam’s son Nick has made sure to stock the best Italian varietals for the Wine Corner, and he is available to answer any wine-related questions or just to suggest a good pairing. Besides just Italian wines, he also stocks award-winning varietals from around the world including many from the California appellations. Nick is very friendly and eager to help so be sure to browse his wine selection while there. You can also order online if you prefer.
Let’s see… what else can I say about Sam’s Italian Deli? Well, they’ve been in business for 30 years, they offer catering services, they have a friendly staff, they’re on Facebook and Twitter and yes, they make six-foot subs!
Be sure to check them out if you haven’t done so already. They’re located on the Northeast corner of Clinton and First in Central Fresno and their phone number is (559) 229-9346. They’re open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. but closed Sunday. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter or visit their website at www.samsitaliandeli.com.
Delaney Boling has worked in the culinary industry for the past 12 years and is currently working as a Social Media Director for Boling Associates Advertising Agency. He attends Reedley College, is pursuing a degree in journalism and has plans to transfer to Fresno State University soon. Along with working a 9 to 5 and going to school, he caters, offers cooking lessons, creates new recipes and manages several food blogs. Be sure to become a fan of Chef Delaney on facebook, or visit his blog,Chef Delaney's Cutting Board.