Located just a couple blocks from Twin Lakes Beach, Deke Ramirez has owned his namesake Deke’s Market and Deli for 18 years. Originally born and raised in the Central Valley, he moved to the Bay Area after college and worked in the tech industry for 10 years.
When the chance to purchase a failing market and convenience store presented itself, Ramirez decided to take his shot. He revamped the business and added a deli side, nicknamed “In Mah’ Belly Deli,” that specializes in artisan hand-crafted sandwiches and salads.
Their signature sando is the Hippie Tri-Tip with tender, flavorful steak complemented by barbeque sauce, Sriracha mayo, provolone cheese and pepperoncini between a French roll. Popular poultry picks abound, like the Chicken Salad sandwich and Chicken Pesto sandwich, and salad options are headlined by the Chicken Garden Salad and the Asian Chicken salad. The Force Feed Breakfast Burrito is packed with French fries (yes, French fries), eggs, cheese, avocado and customizable proteins. Deli hours are 9am-3pm Mon-Fri and 10am-3pm Sat/Sun.
What propelled you to open Deke’s?
DEKE RAMIREZ: I really liked the Santa Cruz community and that is what inspired me to want to open a business here. A local neighborhood market was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of that dream. Owning a small business has come with many challenges, and even though I’ve had an opportunity to pull out several times, stepping away has never been an option for me. It’s an honor to still be serving the local community, and I’ve never regretted leaving my previous career in tech.
What sets your sandwiches apart? DR: For one, our portions are very generous and we always listen to customer feedback in order to continuously improve upon our quality. We pride ourselves on using mostly local vendors, especially for our produce and bread. We have a lot of passion for providing great value to our customers, and making