Delizioso maintains many favorites and adds dishes

Delizioso cafe, deli and bakery in Los Gatos didn’t miss a beat during its change of ownership at the beginning of 2001. After four years of operation, former owner Steve Zanardi turned over the keys to working partners Tim Jacobs and Jeff Cimoli, who immediately expanded the menu by 50 percent. About the only apparent change in the store interior is the blank entrance wall where a huge oil painting of a whimsical cow used to hang. Zanardi took the cow to his new party rental business called A Party Place in Campbell. But he maintains a symbiotic relationship with the new owners through their catering business.

“We call him to do all the setups for our business, and he calls us to do the catering for his,” Jacobs says.

The expanded menu the partners are offering, both to their over-the-counter trade and to their corporate and private party clientele, includes lots of hand-rolled ravioli, gnocchi and fettuccine, along with chicken and eggplant parmesan.

“We’re making salads and pastas and hot foods all day long,” says Jacobs, pointing out that it keeps the menu always fresh and keeps waste to a minimum. “That’s one place where 35 years of experience comes in,” he says, referring to the partners’ combined years in food preparation.

Entrees run around $5. The popular signature sandwiches–turkey pesto, smoky BLT, turkey and bacon and the tropic festival of turkey with cranberry and macadamia relish–remain, augmented by an assortment of $5-range sandwiches that includes some new Italian combos as well as prosciutto and corned beef.

Salads include Thai Chinese, chicken, angel hair pasta and chicken Caesar at $2.75 a serving. A specialty among the desserts is the cheesecake made on the premises. Beer and a selection of local and Italian wines are available.

Jacobs and Cimoli have been cooking together since they met while working at La Villa Deli in Willow Glen. Jacobs notes that they had been trying to convince Zanardi for a year to sell Delizioso to them. “It’s such a perfect location,” he adds.

Their day starts at 6:30 a.m. and both are in the store all day until the new closing time of 7 p.m., which was expanded to make it easier for customers to make dinner pickups. They split the duties–Jacobs doing the books and Cimoli supervising the cleanup among their staff of seven–but both like sharing the cooking.

Jacobs, 36, and Cimoli, 30, grew up in San Jose. Cimoli was part of a large Italian family whose culture included all of the foods he prepares now. Jacobs was the middle child surrounded by three elder siblings and three younger. He found himself cooking all of his life for family and friends, forsaking his Santa Clara University Law School degree for the love of food. The men’s wives–Julie Jacobs and Jonie Cimoli–work, respectively, as managers in Mervyn’s corporate office and Hallmark’s specialty stores. The Jacobses also have a 19-month-old daughter, Nicole.

To introduce themselves, the partners are offering dinner for two for $11.99, which includes ravioli, lasagna, green salad and garlic bread. When summer rolls around, they plan to add barbecued tri-tip, ribs, Italian sausage and chicken on the weekends. So far, they’re enjoying the easy transition. “Los Gatos is a bigger Willow Glen–same charm, but more diversity,” Jacobs says.

133 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos CA; Tel. 408.395.7737.
Open Mon.-Sat., 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

This article was originally published in the January 24, 2001 issue of the Los Gatos Weekly-Times. ©2001 Metro Publishing Inc.

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