Since its launch in February 28th of this year, Carve Modern Deli & Beer has been changing the culinary landscape in Serra Mesa. Carve’s clean design, tall windows, and natural light attracts patrons, as does the incredibly creative menu and approach to food. The restaurant has established a niche in Serra Mesa and introduced something new to the breakfast and lunch crowd it caters to.
Chris Karetas, Carve owner and chef, is a San Diego native whose family lineage in the food service industry runs deep. Beginning at age 12, Karetas sold churros and soft pretzels at swap meets and concessions at Sports Arena (now Valley View Casino Center) as part of his father’s food service company. While attending college at San Diego State University, he worked in the Del Mar race track kitchen to develop his understanding of food and ended up continuing that education at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After refining his philosophies around food and management at a few San Francisco restaurants, Karetas moved back to San Diego to rejoin the family business. He worked in different divisions of the company but wanted to get back in the kitchen – Karetas’ passion was creating menus and specialty plates for clients.
Karetas pursued his dream of opening his own restaurant when his father retired and sold the business in May 2014. There was a very specific vision for Carve from the outset: It is not a traditional full-service restaurant, but rather a modern, chef-driven deli. The theme behind the restaurant is to avoid producing too much food – keep the menu tight and specialized. Patrons will see a lot of crossover ingredients on the menu, but the flavors are completely different from plate to plate. Carve will always have a unique, focused menu because the restaurant is designed to limit waste and streamline production. “My philosophy is that food will be higher quality when you have that specialized focus on ingredients and menu items,” says Karetas.
Karetas’ carefully crafted menu includes salads, sandwiches, and plates. That sounds simple, but Carve has gained its loyal following because it roasts its own turkeys, smokes and steams its own pastrami, and includes items like house-made lemon vinaigrette and chermoula sauce that are one-of-a-kind additions. “I geeked out on how to make pastrami,” Karetas admits. “I tested smoking it in my parents’ backyard with an old smokey joe grill, and steaming it in my oven at home…I cooked it different ways over and over to perfect it.”
Carve’s current most popular menu items are the Smokin’ ‘Strami sandwich with hickory-smoked beef brisket pastrami; the Aero Club sandwich with oven-roasted turkey breast and thick-cut maple bacon; Make-A-Plate options with the refined chermoula sauce; and the Super Group salad with wild kale, quinoa, smoked greek yogurt, carrots, and more healthy goodies. There are also 12 craft beers on tap and wine from local and international producers.
About Carve Modern Deli & Beer
Carve’s mission is to please you with delicious food and friendly customer service to make your experience one to enjoy time and time again. We are located at 8583 Aero Drive in the Broadstone Corsair complex in Serra Mesa. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch 8am-2:30pm, with a beer and wine bar open until 7pm. Saturday’s hours are 11am-3pm. For more information, visit carvesd.com.