Masterpiece Delicatessen, arguably the best sandwich shop in Denver over the past decade, is ending its reign as the Central Street sandwich king. But even though the original deli at 1575 Central Street is closing, fans of Masterpiece will still be able grab their favorite sandwiches less than half a mile away, because founder Justin Brunson is moving the deli inside his other LoHi restaurant, Old Major (at 3316 Tejon Street) beginning January 6.
More parking (which has been virtually absent at Masterpiece Deli because of construction in the area over the past two years), more room for guests and a bigger kitchen for expanding the menu and serving customers quickly were all considerations in the move. And since Masterpiece serves breakfast and lunch, it will be open at Old Major from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday once the move is complete. "We were open for twelve years, and it felt like six of those were during construction," Brunson points out.
The chef is no stranger to operating dual concepts from one kitchen; in 2015, he launched Royal Rooster inside Old Major as a lunch option serving fried-chicken sandwiches and burgers before turning it into a fast-casual counter at Broadway Market last spring. The Royal Rooster fried-chicken sandwiches and double-double burger will continue at Old Major, joined by Masterpiece favorites like the truffled egg salad sandwich, the "sushi sandwich" (seared tuna with wasabi aioli and Asian slaw), and the stacked Italian. Breakfast items will include the regular sandwiches and a new grits bowl with tomato-braised bacon and a fried egg. He sees the move as a chance to expand Masterpiece Deli into a full-service breakfast destination for the neighborhood.
Brunson also owns River Bear American Meats, which now provides nearly all the deli meats for Masterpiece sandwiches (other than the dry-cured Italian meats, which he says River Bear will soon be making).
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Masterpiece Deli will close on Central Street on December 31, then reopen on January 6 with its first Industry Brunch, which will include $15 bottomless mimosas and a $5 Hamm's-and-whiskey combo. The Industry Brunch will continue every Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Old Major's brunch will be served as usual every Saturday and Sunday. "There really isn't a brunch option for service industry people, so we wanted to have something for people who have to work brunch on the weekends," Brunson notes, adding that Brett Daugherty, who runs the kitchen at Masterpiece Deli, previously also ran Old Major's brunch, so there will be some continuity for guests.
Masterpiece Deli will continue deliveries using DoorDash, PostMates and GrubHub, takeout orders through the Masterpiece Deli app, and catering services through firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the closing of the deli feels like the end of an era in one part of LoHi, Brunson looks at it as an opportunity for more neighbors to experience Masterpiece for breakfast and lunch.