After 30 years in the business, the sandwich-fixing masters at Ray's Downtown Deli still satiate ravenous appetites with custom sandwiches, grilled burgers, and house-made soups and salads. Patrons engineer their ideal sandwich from an extensive list of fresh ingredients, or choose one of the deli's specialty sammies, including the Downtown deli roast beef classic, a generous portion of tender meat tucked beneath a green chili and served on an onion bun bound blissfully together with swiss and cheddar cheeses ($6.25), or the turkey bacon club, which crowns a poultry pile with smoky bacon and provolone cheese ($6.25). On the hot menu, juicy burgers and chicken sandwiches rub delectable elbows with daily specials ($6.42+), including meatloaf and veggies lounging in a pool of gravy on a creamy mashed-potato raft on Thursday, and an italian-sausage grinder that gives Tuesday new meaning alongside a supporting cast of house-made salad, pickle, and a small drink. Evenings after 5 p.m., the sounds of live bands and DJs permeate the bar-like atmosphere at Ray's Downtown Deli, leaving diners free to chew without whistling their own theme music through rye-bread-dusted lips.
The colorful tap room at Wild Donkey Brewing Co. is a hub for socializing. Sometimes that's due to scheduled parties and other events, or perhaps it's simply because of the beer. The Redlands craft brewery prepares nine year-round and two seasonal brews, each of which is served on-site from a row of wall-mounted taps. The selection includes a hefeweizen brewed with lemon and peppers, a black IPA stuffed with citrusy hops, and an American-style stout brewed with whiskey. Every beer is also available in a keg, and can be poured into growlers or plastic-lined pockets to go.
Inland Empire Brewing Company formed in 2007 when three good friends?all home brewers at the time?happened upon a deal for used brewing equipment. Not willing to let the chance pass, they decided to seize the opportunity, and two years later, officially opened their doors for business. Today, the Inland Empire Brewing Company supplies suds at more than 40 locations. Its Victoria American strong ale?named after the avenue where its hand-zested oranges reside in Riverside?has garnered award-winning attention.
Little Fisherman Seafoods purchases fresh fish daily in limited quantities, ensuring customers a strictly fresh seafood selection. Satisfy stomachs with homemade clam chowder ($3.95 cup, $5.95 bowl) or bean bag-toss an order of oysters on the half-shell into gullet goals ($8.95). Little Fisherman Seafoods fries up 14 savory varieties of fish and chips, including halibut ($15.95) and catfish ($11.95), and the Fisherman platter with a choice of four sea settlers, all served with coleslaw and french fries or rice pilaf ($15.95). Grilled salmon shares a seabed with one side and a dinner salad and distracts hungry eyes with its bold orange hues, allowing mouths to sneak a clandestine chomp ($19.95). Nestled between hand-cushioning buns, salmon or crab cake burgers arrive with coleslaw and french fries or rice pilaf ($8.95 each).
A fourth-generation California grocer, Martin Goodwin has focused his new store on supplying fresh fruits and vegetables and preparing meals free of the chemicals, sugars, and fats rampant in processed foods. Inside the store, shoppers can explore grocery aisles or check the deli counter for organic salads, sandwiches, pizza, sushi, or soups. A juice bar serves up cool, healthy drinks, as well as Goodwin's own line of locally roasted Vitalita coffee. Baristas make each cup with a rare Clover machine, an $11,000 device that the New York Times called “standard equipment at some of the country’s most progressive cafes.”
With healthy, fast fare and drink in hand, guests can slide into one of Goodwin's lounge seats and plug in electronics at nearby outlets, which let students focus on their work rather than spurring on the hamster jogging inside their laptop’s charging wheel.
Sandwiches rarely outlive football teams. But consider The Sub Station an exception, as it was founded in 1972, when UCR's football team was still charging the field and shipping its players off to the pros. Founded by Richard Munio right after he returned from service in Vietnam, the 40-year old eatery boasts a long, proud tradition as a collegiate staple that has endured alongside the shop's chairs, benches, and patio, which were all handcrafted by the owner and his carpenter dad, and remain in the eatery to this very day.
Tradition plays a big role in the menu as well, as the years have overseen generations of "subbers" stuffing bread with capicola, salami, and ham, lining the creations with slices of provolone cheese and topping them all off with their secret Italian-style sauce. Alongside hot and cold subs, vegetarian sandwiches pair marinated cucumbers with avocados and melted cheeses, and salads and soups hover at the periphery of the menu, keeping company with sides such as garlic cheese bread. As diners feast in the original furnishings or gather on the outdoor patio, they can toast bottled and tap beers to the eatery's storied history or ponder a new menu of coffee drinks, available with or without cheese.