First Look

Tessa Delicatessen Launches at East Colfax and Ivy

Mark Antonation
Tessa's breakfast sammy, with River Bear ham, cheese and eggs.
Chef Vince Howard is generous in his vision of what a deli can be. Yes, he adheres to tradition, so when you step up to the counter at Tessa Delicatessen, which he opened today (Tuesday, November 5) at 5724 East Colfax Avenue, you'll spot a cold case filled with meats and cheeses that form the foundation of Reubens; muffalettas; simple ham, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches; and an "OG" Italian sub. But there's also avocado toast for millennial tastes, a quinoa bowl for breakfast, a salmon BLT, and a salad with farro and roast carrots.

In short, Tessa is a modern deli with an old-fashioned commitment to serving the neighborhood. Howard points out that he's dedicated to using local products, whether it's the River Bear American Meats ham, pastrami, roast beef and turkey; the rotating coffee selections from Purple Door, Queen City Collective and other Denver roasters; or the variety of breads and rolls from City Bakery.

click to enlarge A old-school deli case sits next to a Denver DIY order counter. - MARK ANTONATION
A old-school deli case sits next to a Denver DIY order counter.
Mark Antonation
click to enlarge Homemade cookies and cinnamon rolls. - MARK ANTONATION
Homemade cookies and cinnamon rolls.
Mark Antonation
And what he doesn't buy from local purveyors, Howard makes himself, including daily soups (opening day's was cauliflower parmesan), house-cured lox, and tempting cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies by the cash register.

Stop in for breakfast every day but Monday starting at 8 a.m., when you'll also find lox toast, granola with yogurt, an impressively sized breakfast burrito, and a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a pretzel bun. Lunch brings about a half-dozen each of hot and cold sandwiches, and Tessa has a liquor license, so you can grab a beer or glass of wine until about 9 p.m. (except on Sundays, when the deli closes early). And on weekends, mimosas and Bloody Marys made with Unicorn Riot vodka (bottled in Aurora and featuring DIA's Blue Mustang on the label) will be served. The chef notes that hours could change, and dinner specials are likely to be added, depending on response from the neighborhood.

Tessa Delicatessen is now open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 720-746-9138 or visit the deli's website for more details.