Zia's in the news

Best Sandwich - Voted "Best Sandwich" numerous years running by both UC Aggies and Yolo County.
Taste of Italy - September 23, 2006
The Motive - December 27, 2005
Love's Labors Last - February 23, 1997
Sacramento Magazine - June, 2009
Midtown Monthly -March 11, 2011
KCRA A-List: Top 6 - 2009, 2010, 2011

Best Sandwich

February 14, 2007
California Aggie - Best of Davis

1. Zia's Delicatessen
2. Nugget Market
3. ASUCD Coffee House

Zia's Delicatessen is a full-service deli known especially for its famous sandwiches.

Located at 616 Third St. and established in 1995 by Kevin and Anne Marie Crilly, Zia's serves the "finest quality and tries to have the best customer service possible," Anne Marie said.

The couple initially started their business because they did not feel there were any real delis in Davis, Anne Marie said.

"We wanted to take control of our own destiny rather than working in corporate America," she added.

Anne Marie is a first-generation Italian; her father was a butcher for nearly 50 years.

Kevin said opening Zia's "was a natural fit because of Anne Marie's background with her family."

The Crillys work full-time and two of their family members work at Zia's also. The majority of workers are UC Davis students who work part-time.

"The bulk has been students who work their way through college -- it's nice and we like it," Anne Marie Crilly said.

Students and community members alike share a love for the sandwiches at Zia's deli.

The most popular meat item on the menu is the Viareggio, which consists of turkey, smoked mozzarella, pesto mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. The Livorno is the most popular vegetarian sandwich and consists of fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Kevin's favorite sandwich is the imported prosciutto and Anne Marie's favorite is the Prosciutto Cotto, which comes with fresh mozzarella and basil grilled on a ciabatta roll with oil and vinegar inside.

"We're very grateful for all our clientele and we really enjoy students and meeting families," Anne Marie said. "We've had customers with us since the day we started 12 years ago."

First-time Zia's customer Bob Cannon said he enjoyed his meatball sandwich.

"I was driving by looking for some place to eat -- I don't like chains. I prefer local places with a little character," he said.

Customer Jim Hardesty, 45, said, "I like a deli over Subway any day."

Second-place winner for the best sandwich was the Nugget Market grocery store, with locations at 1414 E. Covell Blvd. and 409 Mace Blvd. In third place is the ASUCD Coffee House in UC Davis' Memorial Union.

© California Aggie, February 14, 2007

Taste Of Italy

September 23, 2006

I think one of the best little moments in life is when you discover one of your new favorite places to eat for the first time. It's almost sacred taking the first bite of the food that you know will call you again and again. Breathing the aroma of the air, sweetened by air cured meats, fresh baked pastries, and pungent cheeses encourage you to bask in the perfume. Your eyes feast on every piece of eye candy the haven has to offer.

This is how I felt when I first stumbled into Zia's. I had passed by the place before on many occasions, never really giving the place a second thought, but on my recent mental health day, I figured to myself, "Why not?" I had been hankering for a good sandwich that day so the hanging sign was definitly calling my name.

Zia's Delicatessen was opened in 1996 by Anne Marie Crilly, and after 10 years has withstood the test of time and the trial of college town summers, establishing it as a permanent player in the Davis restaurant scene. Stepping inside, you'll understand why.

Apparently the door is a little wrinkle in time to an Italian trattoria, because that's where I found myself. "Buongiorno!" called the adorable lady behind the counter. I nodded my hello, unable to speak as I approached the ginormous freaking deli counter. It was filled to the brim with smoked, brined, and dry cured meats, slabs of proscuitto and pancetta tempted my mouth and my wallet. Cheeses of all kinds were available for take home. Various pasta salads, side dishes, and desserts were laid out. There was even a gelato counter! *Le sigh* indeed! This was like the restaurant I had dreamed of opening! (I want to open a soup/sandwich/coffee shop someday.)

After scrolling through the thoroughly enticing chalk written menu, and finally asked the lady behind the counter to just give me whatever the popular choice was. She smiled and told me she knew exactly what to do. She then went and started deli-slicing paper thin sheets of turkey and smoked mozarella, the then took an Italian roll, slathered it up with some pesto mayo, looseleaf lettuce and tomato. It was thick and stacked high; the way a sandwich should be! I also got a sparkling orange juice, popping the top off on the little bottle cap removed attached to the side of the counter. All for a measly $7.50, a shibby price for a shibby meal!

The whole thing was perfectly delicious, and after plopping myself down in one of their tables, I was complacent to people watch as various Davis denizens met with each other and went up and down the street. I also watched the line in Zia's. For a Thursday, this place was getting a lot of business and a lot of traffic, but no one seemed to wait more than a minute. A picture of efficiency.

Aside from being an eatery and deli, Zia's is also a little Italian grocery where you can find anchovies, olives, oil, and various Italian goods. I have to admit I caved a little and bought some fig balsamic vinegar. I figured this would be perfect on grilled cheese sandwiches, and various desserts and salads! A small rebellion against the coming cold weather!

Eventually, I had to walk through the door and step back into California, but it's always nice to know that a door to Italy is only a short ways away. I'll be sure to bring my tour book next time.

© vanillagarlic.blogspot.com, September 23, 2006

The Motive

John Lescroart
New York Times best selling author of "The Second Chair"
December 27, 2005

"... if you want deli, Zia's is pretty damn good Italian."


Love's Labors Last

Davis Enterprise
February 23, 1997

A deli(ghtful) duo

Kevin and Anne Marie Crilly of Zia's Delicatessen moved to Davis nearly six year ago with their three children.

They grew up amidst the fog, salt air and rolling hills of San Francisco, and met through Anne Marie's brother. In just a few months, they will celebrate their 20th anniversary together!

Anne Marie and Kevin agree that their business is definitely about family. Their business name, "zia," is taken from the italian word for "aunt."

"(many of) … my family members call me that," says Anne Marie.

Zia's opened in November 1995, after Kevin and Anne Marie left careers in the telecommunications and banking fields, respectively. Going into business together was something the couple had always talked about.

"I come from a family (in the food industry) … we were pretty much familiar with this type of business," says Anne Marie.

Both she and Kevin help behind the counter and in making sandwiches, but Anne Marie is head cook and keeps the books for the business.

"The reason I do the cooking is many of the recipes came from my grandmother," Anne Marie says.

Working together in the business has brought them closer together.

"We actually get along better. I hate to say it," Anne Marie says.

Working in close quarters has made them more sensitive to each other's needs.

© Excerpt from Davis Enterprise, February 23, 1997

Sacramento Magazine

June 2009

Great Delis, Italian

A big fave of the university lunch crowd, tiny Zia’s cranks out some of the best sandwiches in Davis. Grab a mile-high grilled prosciutto panini (with fresh mozzarella and basil on a ciabatta roll) and a tub of delicate potato salad and sit outside on the sidewalk to watch college life strolling past. If you’re still hungry after eating all that, Zia’s sells gelato. Best reason to visit: Veggie-packed fritatta
[full article]

Midtown - The Food Issue

Sac’s Top 20 Sandwiches!
March, 2011

The Best of the Best

14.) Zia Café-The Zia
I love rustic, artisanal bread as much as the next yuppie, but I also like the bite of a glossy deli roll made with ultra refined white flour, and Zia uses such a roll with their signature sandwich. The Zia is a zucchini frittata on a roll with provolone, served hot or cold, dressed with oil and vinegar; simple yet brilliant. I like the frittata warmed, which melts the provolone a little, and I add pepperoncini for some acidity and spice. 616 3rd Street, Davis
[full article]