I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the deli/cafe at Santa Cruz Ale Works is one of the city’s best hidden gems.
The brewery opened a cozy little restaurant at their digs in the Harvey West area about a year and a half ago, and it’s not to be missed. There’s also a tasting room, natch.
There’s a full menu of gourmet sandwiches made with house-made smoked meats, krauts, pickles and sauces. There are also salads, soups and sides, all made with high-end ingredients.
Of course, for someone who has been on a strict gluten-free diet for a decade (not by choice,) the appeal of beer and sandwiches is usually lost on me.
Imagine my surprise at finding out that Ale Works actually bakes their own gluten-free bread and offers hard cider.
A recent trip for lunch had me salivating over the Reuben Time on GF bread, made with house-cured corned beef, Swiss cheese, homemade sauerkraut and 1000 island dressing. Add a homemade pickle on the side and I was one happy camper.
My gluten-eating compatriot went for the Buena Vista Cubano, made with oasted pork loin, smoked ham, homemade pickles, Swiss cheese, spicy giardiniera, and Dijon-cilantro aioli. If you’re daring, ask for their specialty “death paste,” but be warned, the name is no euphemism — it’s seriously hot.
As a bonus, these sandwiches are also a pretty good deal at about $8 a pop.
The spot is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Santa Cruz Ale Works is located at 150 Dubois St. in Santa Cruz.