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Jan 20, 2007 03:14 PM

Compagno's Market & Deli - Monterey

Stopped by this little deli on the way out of town .... got a sandwich for the road. This unassuming place is a favorite with the troops from the nearby Presidio. Lots of army memorabilia up on the walls. Generous sandwiches can be had here.

2000 Prescott Ave. Monterey, CA 93940 (831)375-5987
M-F 9- 6:30pm Sat/Sun 9- 5:30

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  1. Yeh, I have eaten dozens of their subs. Nothing fancy, but a real good soft Italian roll, mustard and mayo, lettuce, tomato, peppercini, onions, and good fillings. The roast beef may be the best. Truly a locals place - located nowhere near a tourist area. It's good to see that they are still going strong.


    1. gordon, when I attempt to open the shutterfly photo link, all I get is an "open an account" page. ??

      4 Replies
      1. re: toodie jane

        jane, sorry I was having problems with Shutterfly ( or my unfamiliarity with it ) .... I normally use Photobucket but it wasn't working for me .... but I just tried it again and I think I'm good now....
        ..... just checked it - yup, we're good now.

        Compagno's is a no frills place .... depending on the thickness of the bread you choose, it would be good to have them scoop out some of the extra bread. The image is of the Hoagie with oil and vinegar. Although it was generously filled - something was missing. The oil & vinegar didn't seem to add much .... wishing I had gone with the sandwich with bacon and avacado in addition to ham/turkey.

          1. re: gordon wing

            I don't know if the oil and vinegar is a new option or if I just always chose the mayo/mustard version, but otherwise that looks like the sandwich. I also don't recall any choice of breads, but maybe the place has continued evolving from a true corner market that made sandwiches to a sandwich shop that has a few other food items to go.


            1. re: Ed Dibble

              the sandwich maker asked me if I wanted ciabatta or focaccia and whether I wanted oil and vinegar .... the case had a few salads and a few desserts also. Desserts included some monster cakes and even some cannoli.

        1. I have hurt myself with their meatball sandwiches....haven't been there in a while.

          I may need to bring a friend to help.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Food Tyrant

            Oh Food Tyrant, so long since we've heard from you, please drop in again.

            I had wanted to order the meatball sandwich here. But the owner said that it's best eaten hot and freshly made. He said it has a short half-life and would be a soggy mess by lunch time. However, I am intrigued and hope to try one before too long.

          2. October's family reunion weekend included a bring-your-own-picnic at Lovers Point in PG after a guided tour of the Chinese fishing village displays at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. My bro and I stopped at Compagno's early Sunday morning to grab sandwiches. This was my first time, and he had not been for many years.

            As it turned out Bennett Compagno himself waited on us. Guess only the owner gets up early to open on Sundays. He quizzed us on why we were in town. And when he learned I was born and raised in Salinas, chided me for waiting so long to visit what's now a local institution, "Well, it's about time you finally came in."

            I took note of the Molinari salami, my childhood favorite, stacked on top of the case. Lunch meats are sliced to order, another plus. Not a lot of choices for condiments, these sandwiches rely on good brands of cold cuts and quality breads. As we pondered the menu, we debated whether to get whole or half sandwiches. We decided to get whole sandwiches to make it easier to share halves with each other. But Compagno advised us to order half-sandwiches. This still turned out to be a mammoth amount of food.

            We had a hard time deciding so asked what was most popular. He said that the roast beef is his top seller, and it's prepared in house daily. Sold! We asked for medium-rare beef with pesto mayonnaise and everything on a "soft baked roll" that's covered with sesame seeds and hollowed out a bit to have enough room for the hefty filling.

            For the second one, I wanted more of a classic Italian deli sub and picked the Navy Special: Molinari salami, hot coppa, prosciutto, and provolone with mayo, mustard, Italian dressing, and the works on ciabatta. For visitors to the area, I want to mention that ciabatta is the bread to focus on. I don’t know why, but Monterey Bay bakeries excel in making ciabatta.

            I’m holding the Navy special in one hand in the photo above. If there were audio, you’d hear me whining that William better hurry up and get the shots because this thing is too heavy for me to support much longer. Priced at $8.99 for half-sandwiches, these were plenty bodacious and probably weighed a couple pounds apiece.

            The roast beef was a little plain, and benefitted from addition of more salt and pepper. I thought the Navy Special was great even though the prosciutto should have been sliced a little thinner for easier bite. William commented that the onions tasted fresh and sweet, not sulfurous. Recently we’ve been making the rounds of the Bay Area’s favorite Italian delis --- Little Lucca, Darby Dan’s, Roxie, Lucca Ravioli, Molinari, Calabria Brothers --- and we think Compagno’s beats most of them and at a lower price. We did miss the garlic and spicy condiments available at some delis, and would load up on more pesto mayo or the chipotle next time.

            When traveling to New Orleans, one buys a muffaletta to eat on the flight home. Similarly, when you’re in Monterey, grab a sub for a lunch at the beach and also buy one for the drive home. A whole Compagno’s sandwich will feed a family of four.

            2000 Prescott Avenue (At Taylor)
            Monterey, CA 93940
            Tel - (831) 375-5987
            Fax - (831)375-1160

            2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Glad to see that Bennett is carrying on his dad's traditions. Too often the next generation has different aspirations. Nice post. I lived for 10 years on Alice St about 4 blocks or so from there,so many a dinner or picnic featured the sandwiches. Most of the stuff looks familiar although the ciabatta bread is a new addition - he used to use excellent local breads, but not artisan. Anyway, thanks.

              1. re: Ed Dibble

                Ike's has come to town (from San Francisco) and is in Salinas too with many rabid fans. Personally, I actively dislike the goopy style, and that includes a sandwich that Ike made for me himself. So, I've been revisiting some of the standards and seeing how they hold up against the new guy. No question in my mind that Compagno's is superior --- much higher quality cold cuts, breads are equal, bigger portions for the price. Bennett did tell me to come early next time as there will be a line at 11:00, so hopefully he's not hurting for business.

                "Artisan" is a moving target. I don't think of ciabatta as an artisan bread anymore since Jack in the Box started advertising it some years ago.

                Seaside has two wholesale bakeries that make excellent ciabatta. Golden Sheaf and Sumano's bakeries in Watsonville do as well. It's what you'll see in many bread baskets around town, replacing sourdough or baguettes.

            2. I LOVE THIS POST!!!!

              I graduated from PG High in 84/85 and Compagno's was an institution for us HS students then!!! A total hole in the wall with girlie magazines in back of the counter- no place to sit- just a counter to order.
              Biggest and best sandwiches evah!

              In this fast changing high tech day and age when I - a now 48 year old woman can visit the hangout of my youth-(when I was 16/17) and little has changed, well it makes me feel wistful and nostalgic and happy.

              1 Reply
              1. re: EAH

                I'm 200 miles away right now . . . after looking at those photos again in order to post, I wish I could have one right now. Where are you based these days? Glad I could share a little happiness.