Although Tessa Delicatessen wants to be Park Hill’s new destination for Reubens, Cuban sandwiches, and charcuterie, the new deli is also going all-in on something more commonly associated with millennials than old-fashioned delis: brunch.
“We are really about being that party brunch spot,” says Vince Howard, the owner of the new deli that opened at 5724 East Colfax Avenue on Tuesday. “We want to be the kind of place that has that vibe all week.”
Howard, who move to Denver from Los Angeles with his family a few years ago, says Tessa is cultivating that atmosphere by serving brunch fare like quinoa bowls and avocado toast and pouring wine and beer (plus mimosas and Bloody Marys on the weekends).
But while Tessa is aiming to offer a fun and laidback eating and drinking experience, Howard is decidedly serious about his sandwiches. They’re made with meats served from River Bear American Meats, the new butcher business run by former Old Major chef and heritage meat enthusiast Justin Brunson. Much of the bread is also sourced locally from RiNo’s City Bakery.
The menu consists of a mix of both hot and cold sandwiches, including standards like the deli turkey that Howard describes as offering the kind of dining experience that most people only get when they make a sandwich with their leftover turkey the day after Thanksgiving.
However, there are also regional specialties, including a New Orleans Muffuletta and a Cuban sandwich, plus a barbecue pastrami sandwich that Howard says is inspired by a favorite Russian deli in Boston.
The deli is located in old furniture store and has clean and simple feel. One of the most notable features of the space is the large deli counter that sits next to the counter and will be stocked with the deli’s meats, cheeses, and salads.
Much of the 2,500-square-foot restaurant is dedicated to the Tessa’s large kitchens, although the dining room offers 60 seats and plenty of room to stretch out. There is also a small kids area containing mini kids picnic tables as well as toys.
Tessa is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Howard said he is planning to debut a late night menu sometime in the next couple of weeks. Likely possibilities for that menu include bison burgers, meatballs, mac and cheese, and “possibly a vegetarian dish or two.” The restaurant also offers charcuterie and cheese boards that Howard said he thinks will be popular with the crowd he hopes to attract in the later hours.
“What I am trying to achieve here is that local neighborhood place that just kind of has it all,” Howard says. “So we are doing breakfast and lunch and dinner and also beer and wine and coffee and just trying to be as multifunctional as we can.”