The Coast News Group

Long-delayed deli open in Encinitas

ENCINITAS — An Old World Europe delicatessen-concept restaurant is finally up and running in Leucadia after nearly a year of delays.

The Moto Deli, the brainchild of Chef Alex Carballo and San Diego entrepreneur Mario Warman, was slated to open in January on Coast Highway 101 in the space that once housed the popular Leucadia sandwich shop, Sub Palace.

But the aged structure needed new flooring, electrical and other upgrades that pushed back the opening until this month, when the restaurant had a soft opening. A grand opening party is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 15.

According to a news release, the 1920s-era building has been stripped down and restored in a stylized European aesthetic, with hints of artistic Bohemian featured throughout to create a warm and comfortable shop.

“There was a lot that needed to be done to the building, and the opening kept getting pushed back,” said Lauren Winget, a publicist representing the deli. “But we hope it’s worth the wait.”

Carballo, a chef at the popular URBN Brewing chain, told The Coast News in December of 2015 that he was trying to capture the deli craze that had been sweeping across the country but had largely missed North San Diego County.

“We got a few (sandwich shops), but we could use a few more,” Carballo said. “New York deli meats with West Coast flair.”

The ownership duo recently hired Executive Chef Andrew Halvorsen, known for his stints at Escondido-based Stone Brewing and the The Lodge at Torrey Pines, where he served as sous chef at the lodge’s A.R. Valentien restaurant.

In addition to the food, Moto Deli takes inspiration from motorcycles, a love of Carballo’s managing partner Warman. The design will feature many of the original architectural details such as original redwood, new concrete walls and touches of steel, while invoking the nostalgia of an authentic mechanic shop — a nod to Warman’s passion for motorcycles. The restaurant will also deliver food on motorized scooters.

Carballo said he believes the motorcycle nostalgia, the proximity to the beach and the eclectic mix of Leucadia’s stretch of Coast Highway, and the food will make Moto Deli a fan favorite.