If you love good food and quality ingredients, I hope you’ve already discovered the Riversdale Delicatessen. And if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.
On one side of the large, light-filled space are the dried goods. Don’t miss the Rozendal vinegar from South Africa, the olive oils from Portugal and the San Marzano tomatoes from Italy.
The delicatessen’s goal is to provide the best quality ingredients possible – wherever they come from. So alongside the imported goods are carrots and beets from Wally’s Urban Market, fresh greens and tomatoes from Floating Gardens, and garlic from Meadowlark Farm. Three Farmers camelina oil is alongside the European olive oils. The Happy Days goat milk yogurt and cheese are from British Columbia. The fair trade Galerie au Chocolat products are from Montreal.
Organic air-dried PastaJesce sits alongside the largest line-up of gluten-free pasta in Saskatoon, including a buckwheat pasta for people who also have corn allergies.
On the other side of the room is a cooler with an amazing selection of cheese (7 kinds of pecorino) and charcuterie (Chef Darby gets very excited when he starts talking about the jamón iberico).
And please don’t leave without picking up a container of olives. They’re amazing.
Travel & Experience
The staff at Riversdale Deli are friendly, knowledgeable and well travelled. Before returning to Saskatoon, Chef Darby Kells worked under an Italian chef in a French restaurant. Maxine Panchuk, the general manager, is just back from trekking in Myanmar. Cook Sarah Slind has lots of experience with Spanish tapas and cuisine.
The staff share a love of good food. “I want to have fun with my food so that people can have fun with it at home,” Chef Darby says. He is looking forward to hosting regular food demonstrations to showcase the deli’s products.
Chef Darby recently offered tips on how to cook risotto while handing out samples of a wonderful one he’d made with porcini mushrooms, white truffle oil and black truffle paste. All the ingredients are available at the Deli so you can make your own at home.
The Deli is also teaming up with Doug Reichel of Fine Wines Sask to host wine and cheese tastings. There will be a meat and beer tasting on November 29.
While you’re at the Deli, you have to try one of their sandwiches. These are thick, messy sandwiches that are full of fresh produce. Chef Darby describes them as “over-indulgent sandwiches” and says they’re his version of comfort food.
The bread is baked fresh every day from Chef Darby’s own recipe. “I sat on the phone with former colleagues from Calgary for about an hour to brainstorm the recipe,” he says. “We have a small kitchen and limited oven space. We have to be very organized or the bread will over proof.”
The sandwich options change frequently, and there is always a vegetarian option. The current Eggplant Caponata combines mushroom, carrot, eggplant, onion, tomato, greens and paprika-dusted popcorn. “I like to keep it different,” Sarah says. “Sometimes vegetarian sandwiches have no texture.”
Sandwiches are made to order until 3 o’clock. A limited number of grab and go sandwiches are available after that time.
In addition to sandwiches, there are soups, salads (creative combinations such as cantaloupe, mint and cocktail tomatoes) and charcuterie plates.
Around the corner from the deli, a dusty space is rapidly being transformed into a 30-seat pizzeria with an Italian-style Remco pizza oven that will be the second of its kind in Canada.
Using the Deli’s top-quality ingredients, Chef Darby will prepare 5 different kinds of thin crust pizza, including margarita and wild mushroom with truffle. There will also be appetizers: arancini balls, caprese salad, and traditional Caesar salad.
Chef Darby expects Cappana Pizzeria (“cappana” is Italian for “hut”) to open in December.
Chef Darby says that they were fortunate to obtain their space and lock in the rent quickly as business is booming on 20th Street. He’s also fortunate to have engaged business partners.
Matt McIssac is a sports medicine doctor with a passion for snowboarding, biking, great wine, and cheese. He was the first to see the dream and help bring it to reality. Two additional investors, Brad Selk and Chris Almond, later joined the team.
Six months after putting together a business plan, they had the keys to the building on 20th Street and renovations were underway. There is a strong sense of ownership as the business partners did a lot of the work themselves, helped out by family members such as Matt’s dad, a local veterinarian.
Riversdale Delicatessen is located at the corner of 20th Street and Idylwyld Drive. They are open from 10 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9 am to 7 pm on Saturdays. They’re closed on Sundays and holidays.