Whether you are a writer, artist, businessperson, tourist or someone just looking for a comfortable and fun place to have a delicious fresh cut sandwich or a hot cup of specialty coffee in Hemet the Downtown Deli and Coffee Company at 113 N. Harvard St. is a must.
That is where my wife and I, taking a break just before Christmas Eve, found ourselves enjoying the feel of a real old-time coffee house, complete with pillow cushioned benches, set along the late 1800s brick wall in the historic building. It wasn’t a first time visit as it has become somewhat of a warm sanctuary whenever we visit historic downtown Hemet.
Ordering their signature premium hot sandwiches, like the New Yorker, stacked 3-inches high with fresh sliced pastrami, turkey breast, corned beef, ham, Sauer kraut and horseradish sauce on light rye and the classic Italian Meatball Sandwich with three large meatballs bathed in marinara sauce and smothered in provolone and Parmesan cheese encrusted in a fresh white roll was a delight for the afternoon. Being the temperature outside was a brisk 50 degrees that day, who couldn’t refuse a cup of thick, piping hot, homemade potato soup of the day, a premium coffee and hot black tea to go along with the sandwiches.
Seeing a young family with their two children open some early Christmas presents seated in front of the fireplace on soft chairs and a handmade table in the deli dining area was delightful. It was a safe feeling to see a Hemet Police Officer on a break with his girlfriend sipping cups of coffee and quietly talking at the back of the hall. At another table two men talking about the joys of Christmas and the reason for the season was another special moment.
The Downtown Deli and Coffee Company, since its opening almost three years ago, by Steve and Karen Covington, has continued to expand due to the ever-increasing foot traffic that has found its way to downtown Hemet that is becoming a new attraction in the Inland Empire.
Much to our surprise the Covington’s stopped by our table to welcome us to the deli and talked about how the business has grown. They said they are pleased that the deli has become more of a sit-down restaurant.
“We want to set the bar higher than just a coffee shop, but we are still just a sandwich shop,” said Steve modestly.
An experienced restauranteur and architect, Steve knocked out a wall in the historic store front to expand the dining area. He put in new air conditioning, added a bathroom, had the wooden tables and chairs custom made, designed the fireplace mantels, and hung artistic for sale photos and paintings by the next-door Hemet Valley Art Association, all to accommodate the growing demand for their quality homemade sandwiches, baked goods and coffees
In spite of the remodel, the couple kept the quality of the food and coffees high along with the help of Steve’s mother, Diana Hruska, who still does most of the baking. Her whose cookies and cakes are still a big hit with customers.
“She makes everything from scratch,” he said.
We can say their sandwiches and soups are the tastiest and most filling of any deli we have visited and there are many. The comfort of the deli is unsurpassed and a very restful place to take a short – or a long – break from the daily routine.
The Downtown Deli and Coffee Company is open seven days a week and has an extensive menu of more than 30 cold cut classic and hot sandwiches, homemade soups, five different salads, soft drinks and many extras. While the sandwiches come a la carte you can top them with different sauces, extra avocado, bacon, cheese, or other meats and salads for a low cost. They have eight specialty coffees like Hazelnut Delight, eight espresso drinks, Flavored Lattes including chai tea latte and other cold and hot teas.
The Downtown Deli also offers Catering services with 6-foot to 3-foot party subs from $39 to $69, sandwich platter, meat & cheese trays, fruit and veggie trays, cheese platters and cookie trays for a minimum of 10 people.
For more information and complete menus, see Downtown Deli and Coffee on Facebook or call (951) 929-1521.