Heidi Santoro - Santoro’s Italian Market & Deli

Discovering a good local corner deli is a delight. The residents of west end Alameda are truly lucky that within the Neptune Gardens neighborhood, a very good deli exists right on the corner of Santa Clara Avenue and Fifth Street.

Heidi and Michael Santoro opened Santoro’s Italian Market & Deli in 2010. Heidi, originally from Livermore, and Michael, born in Italy, converted an old liquor store into the deli you see today. Heidi and Michael serve a variety of delicious deli sandwiches, but be warned, when it is the EOB (end of bread), they close up for the day. So, plan ahead and get there early. Heidi let us know more about the deli, the neighborhood, and what she thinks makes Alameda special.

How did you land in Alameda?

I had known Michael for a while. His brother was dating my best friend and I knew his family. I was living in Las Vegas and we ran into each other. Michael was living in L.A.. We did the long distance thing for a while. We knew we wanted to open a deli, and at the time we discussed having kids. We looked at two options - a place in Alameda or a place in Tahoe. We fell in love with Alameda. And, my dad actually used to work on the Alameda base in the 1960s. I found out that when my parents were courting, they spent time here. I found a charm bracelet that belonged to my mother, and it was from a jewelry store in Alameda.

You live near the deli. What’s your favorite thing about your neighborhood?

We love our neighbors on either side of us and our neighbors across the street. We like to hang out with them, sit on the steps together. We even eat dinner together a few times a week. It’s like we are family. I also love that I’ve gotten to watch kids in the neighborhood grow up.

What’s your favorite thing about Alameda?

Alameda reminds me of Livermore actually, with its small town feel. Everyone knows everyone. It’s like Mayberry. When you need ​ something, everyone is ready to help. For instance, our gate was broken, and one young customer of ours texted me to let me know about it and another neighborhood stopped his car to get out to help fix it. Where else would that happen? I also love that you can walk and bike everywhere.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

love food. I love making food, talking about food, serving food, sharing food. I love that no matter what your political or religious views may be, food brings people together.

What’s your favorite sandwich?

Well, I have my own favorite not on the menu. My favorite involves seeded sourdough bread, sun dried tomatoes, pesto, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper turkey and smoked cheese.

You have a date night in Alameda, what do you do?

First, I go to Angela’s. They have lime chicken that could eat every night. I like the mellow vibe there. Then, we go to a movie at the Alameda Theatre. Afterwards, we go play a game of pool and have a cocktail at The Hunter Public House.

Thanks for your time Heidi! If you want to learn more about Santoros’s Italian Market and Deli, check them out online here, call in your order at (510) 217-8710, or visit the deli at 475 Santa Clara Ave.


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