Food Review: Caputo’s Market and Deli
Caputo's Market and Deli
Caputos.com 314 W. Broadway Mon–Sat: 9 a.m.–7 p.m. || Sun: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. 801.531.8669
215 S. Central Campus Dr. Mon–Fri: 7 a.m.–3 p.m. 801.583.8801
Tony Caputo’s flagship market across from Pioneer Park feels like it’s always been there. It has grown and changed considerably since it opened in 1997, and its constant presence has helped preserve SLC’s historic Italian and Greek neighborhood. The deli has expanded in recent years to include several stand-alone sandwich shops in various locations, including a seasonal restaurant on the University of Utah campus. Caputo’s currently functions as Salt Lake’s leading source of regional Italian and Mediterranean foodstuffs, such as olive oil and imported pasta. The market also features an incredible cheese counter, with many of the selections finishing their raffinage process in Caputo’s custom cheese-ripening cave. It would be easy to blow your entire food budget without ever venturing to the sandwich shop that shares the space with the market. Those who do make it to the deli, though, will always leave satisfied.
As the name would suggest, the shop’s signature sandwich is The Caputo ($5.99 half/$9.99 whole). A standard, split bakery roll is layered with sliced prosciutto, mortadella, salami, provolone cheese, lettuce and tomato. It’s then seasoned with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and served with a few olives and a spicy pepperoncini. It’s certainly a great option, and one that has rightly courted local and national notoriety for the deli. It can feel a little heavy on the Italian luncheon meat, but it sure is popular with the lunch crowd.
"As far as the restaurants go, whether you stop in often, occasionally or even if you are coming in for the first time, you will always feel welcome."
Another option, and one that I like more, is the Old School ($5.99 half/$9.99 whole). This sandwich is a lot like The Caputo but trades the selection of sliced meats and cheese for sausage, genoa salami, capocollo and cacio de roma cheese. It has the added punch of a roasted-red-pepper spread. This may be my favorite sandwich of all time. The tangy pepper spread adds a hint of smokiness, pairs well with the oil-and-vinegar dressing, and cuts some of the overall richness of the stacked deli meat. A half Old School with a bag of chips and a soda is my go-to lunch when I’m in the neighborhood.
During a recent visit, I strayed from my regular order and got The Meatball ($5.99 half/$9.99 whole). It features house-made meatballs, a savory marinara sauce, and both parmesan and provolone cheeses on a split deli roll. It is unbelievably rich, flavorsome and messy as hell. I honestly don’t know how the Downtown business types eat this sandwich without ending up with globs of sauce down the fronts of their dress shirts. It’s a satisfying option, and it feels more like a meal than a sandwich really ought to. I will certainly order it again, but there’s no way I’m eating it with my hands. A knife and fork are essential—and a handful of napkins.[caption id="attachment_106400" align="alignleft" width="400"] Photo: Talyn Sherer[/caption]
"Those who do make it to the deli, though, will always leave satisfied."
For any vegetarians in your dining party, Caputo’s has a great selection of salads. Some of these include the Caprese, made with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and an Italian dressing over mixed greens, and the Greek Salad, which features cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, bell peppers, feta, red onion and a red-wine vinaigrette. There’s also a Pasta Salad that combines pasta, green beans and cherry tomatoes in house-made basil and pine nut pesto. All are available in a large size ($8.99) or as a side ($3.99). There is even the option of getting a sample of any three salads on the menu as a combo ($8.99).
If you prefer your veggies in sandwich form, there is always the Fior di Latte ($5.49 half/$9.49 whole). This sandwich is named for the specific variety of fresh whole-milk mozzarella that it prominently features. The slices of cheese are topped with tomato, lettuce and fresh basil, and is splashed with an olive oil and balsamic-vinegar dressing. The cheese has a firm texture but remains incredibly creamy. The cheese is also strong enough to hold its own against the other ingredients, but delicate enough to melt away completely as it is consumed. This is a great choice for when you want to stray from deli meats.
[Caputo's] constant presence has helped preserve SLC’s historic Italian and Greek neighborhood.
Caputo’s Market and Deli is an absolute Downtown institution and is a great example of the staying power of a quality, centrally located lunch spot. An added bonus of their Downtown and University locations is their proximity to contemporary-art galleries. The Pioneer Park location positions you a block from the Rio Gallery, and the University deli puts you a short walk from the UMFA. As far as the restaurants go, whether you stop in often, occasionally or even if you are coming in for the first time, you will always feel welcome. The staff is happy to help with any questions you have about the menu, they are eager to make suggestions based on your preferences, and they will always greet you with warm hospitality and a sincere smile. You may only see yourself as a customer, as another nameless face in a busy lunch rush, but as far as Caputo’s is concerned, when you come through those doors, you are family. And, as family, if you leave hungry, it is your own fault.