New deli bakes in tradition

At Panzanella Bakery & Deli, you won’t find smoked turkey or alfalfa sprouts. And don’t expect to pull a chair up to a table. There aren’t any — of either.

But judging from the steady stream of customers during its opening week, all of that is just fine with Hood River’s lunch crowd.

After nine months of whispered anticipation — and a complete make-over of the building at 102 5th Street — Panzanella opened Monday, bringing a new choice to the city’s day-time dining scene.

“There wasn’t a true Italian bakery or deli in town,” said co-owner Matt Botti. “We felt that was something that was needed.” Panzanella — which is the name of an Italian bread salad — is the joint venture of Botti and Abruzzo Italian Grill co-owners Glen Pearce and Mark DeResta. Pearce’s son, Mark, is manager of the deli. Although it’s not affiliated with the popular restaurant, the deli features DeResta’s flair with Italian cuisine.

“It’ll have (DeResta’s) signature on it,” Pearce said. The deli features a variety of fresh-made sandwiches and salads, as well as calzones and pizza — although the latter is not the focus, according to DeResta.

“We’ll make a couple of (pizzas) and when they’re gone, they’re gone,” he said. Like any good Italian deli worth its salami, there are plenty of delights like specialty olives and marinades as well as home-made spreads for bread. The bakery, which opens at 7 a.m., also offers a variety of light breakfast items, including sweet breads, fritatta and paninis.

The bread itself takes center stage at Panzanella, with Botti as director and producer. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Botti has been a baker for nine years. He specializes in “artisan” baking, using natural leavening and long fermentation time.

“We use no commercial yeast in our dough,” said Botti, who also bakes all his bread with organic flour made in Oregon. The dough’s long fermentation — up to 20 hours — produces a better flavor, he said.

With its more rustic look — including a hard, thick crust and rich coloring — artisan bread “leans toward old world,” Botti said. Botti and his partners are so serious about their bread that they installed a genuine Tibiletti Italian brick oven in the bakery.

Botti bakes more than a half-dozen “daily” breads — ranging from focaccia to ciabatta to olive levain — as well as several specialty breads which vary each day. Different breads are paired with DeResta’s creations for the deli sandwiches. Loaves and baguettes are available, too, as are squares and wheels of cheese and sticks of salami and other meats.

“People can come and grab a loaf of bread, some meats and cheese and go have their own picnic,” Botti said. “Or they can grab something already made. We’re just trying to keep it simple.”

The lack of chairs and tables is part of that philosophy. There are several counters where people can stand and munch, but the focus is on “grab and go,” Botti said. Panzanella’s owners aim to please the local crowd — from business people looking for a quick bite to boardheads wanting to grab a sandwich on the go.

“We’ll take the tourists, too,” Botti said. “But we really want to cater to the locals.” Just don’t come here looking for bagels.

“This is strictly Italian,” DeResta said. “We’re not making Reubens.”

Panzanella Bakery and Deli is located on the corner of 5th and Cascade streets, and is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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