November 9th, 2007


A Really Cool Place for Lunch

In what used to be the Denny's at 101 and Bowers in Santa Clara, after a long wait there is now a Specialtys Direct Deli & Bakery. They have done an excellent job of making a well-lit, open space including an enclosed/covered patio. There is a variety of seating types as well. Even better, you can punch your order into one of three terminals and pay via credit card. The software is super-easy, with pictures of all the items, sorted by food type. They do have humans as well, for those who need to pay cash. And even better, you can order in advance from their web site, and it even allows things like "hold the mayo".

The help is young and attractive and helpful. Soft drinks are self-serve.

But that's where the good news ended for me. YMMV. It was a little slow - 10 minutes for a sandwich. I had the Hot Italian, which was served on very fresh Focaccia bread. I'm not a big fan of that bread, but my bad for not modifying my order. It wasn't very hot. It was mostly lettuce, with meats sliced so thin you could see through them. Doused with an overpowering Italian Vinaigrette.

They were out of the pumpkin walnut muffins, so I picked a cappuccino scone from the display rack. It was overcooked on the outside but fine on the inside. Kind of like a geode. Nothing on the bakery rack looked very good, despite there being a wide variety of stuff. Everything looked like a machine made them to look home made.

They have a lot of locations in SF, one in SSF, San Mateo and SJ. And a bunch in the Seattle area, one not far from susandennis.

It's close to work, there are a lot of things on the menu worth a try, so I'll give it a second chance - next time I'll order online and test the "make it my way" feature.
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