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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Carve Modern Deli & Beer offers unique fare in Serra Mesa

Since its launch in February, Carve Modern Deli & Beer has been changing the culinary landscape in Serra Mesa by providing the neighborhood with an unique menu including in-house smoked meats.

Chris Karetas, Carve owner and chef, is a San Diego native whose family lineage in the food service industry runs deep. Karetas got his start in the culinary world at the age of 12, selling churros and soft pretzels at swap meets and concessions with his father's food service company. As he got older, he gained more experience working at the Del Mar race track and when he went to California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After working for years in the family business, Karetas decided to open up his own restaurant, Carve, which is not a traditional full-service restaurant, but rather a modern, chef-driven deli. The theme behind the restaurant is to avoid producing too much food – keep the menu tight and specialized.

Karetas’ carefully crafted menu includes salads, sandwiches, and plates. Carve has gained its loyal following because it roasts its own turkeys,smokes and steams its own pastrami, and includes items like house-made lemon vinaigrette and chermoula sauce that are one-of-a-kind additions. “I geeked out on how to make pastrami,” Karetas admits. “I tested smoking it in my parents’ backyard with an OldSmokey Joe Grill, and steaming it in my oven at home...I cooked it different ways over and over to perfect it.”

Carve’s current most popular menu items are the Smokin’ ‘Strami sandwich with hickory-smoked beef brisket pastrami; the Aero Club sandwich with oven-roasted turkey breast and thick-cut maple bacon; Make-A-Plate options with the refined chermoula sauce; and the Super Group salad with wild kale, quinoa, smoked Greek yogurt, carrots, and more healthy goodies. There are also 12 craft beers on tap and wine from local and international producers.

Carve Modern Deli & Beer

8583 Aero Drive, Serra Mesa. 858-634-2384 or

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