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Cheap Eats: Brass Bear Deli in Walnut Creek

The Alamo deli brings its classic sandwich style to Walnut Creek’s Main Street strip.



When a local restaurant expands or opens a second location, it’s often expected that the prices go up and quality goes down. Luckily for us, there’s one veteran deli that believes consistency translates to success. After nearly 30 years in the Alamo Plaza, Brass Bear Delicatessen owners Mehran Hamzeh and his wife, Sheida, opened their second location in Walnut Creek on Christmas Eve. There was no grand opening, but people are getting the message: Even with Genova right up the street, Brass Bear is the only deli on the Main Street strip offering a quicker, informal alternative to downtown dining.

Other than trading in the rustic, old-Euro deli aesthetic in Alamo for cheerfully painted walls and table-view access to the buzzing Main Street scene, the layouts of the delis are nearly identical.

What’s more reassuring for Brass Bear loyalists is that the Walnut Creek-version passes the taste test: the finely shredded lettuce, fresh meats and cheeses from Saag’s and Boar’s Head, and bread from Berkeley’s Metropolis bakery are all there—and, yes, the mayo still drips on to the wax paper in between bites—packed into a use-two-hands sandwich for around $7.

Back-to-Basics: You can expect a little déjà vu when it comes to the menu board, as well as what you order off it. Hamzeh had exact replicas made of his original signs, which still hang in Alamo.

Daily Deals: For a few extra bucks, you can add a soda and bag of kettle chips to your sandwich. For light eaters, a soup and half-sandwich combo is available for $6.95.

Family Affair: You’ll usually find a member of the Hamzeh family at a Brass Bear at all times. Their daughter-in-law, Shannon, worked through her pregnancy getting the Walnut Creek location ready, and their son, who works downtown, helps close the deli nightly.

Brass Bear Delicatessen, 1506 N Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 954-7485, brassbeardeli.com, Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm, Sat: 9am-5pm & Sun: 10am-5pm


Happy Hour Bar & Bites at
The Cooperage

Monday through Friday
3pm – 5:30pm


This isn’t your typical happy hour. This quintessential neighborhood spot offers high-quality craft cocktails on tap and tasty bites. Menu features: $10 cocktails on tap, $5 select beer & wine, $1 oysters, $7 bacon cheeseburger sliders, $7 crispy beer battered shrimp sliders, $9 sashimi-grade ahi tuna tartare. 

32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
​Reservations: www.thecooperagelafayette.com or 925.298.5915

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