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Cathy’s food, family, faith

Newhall favorite will get your day started right

Posted: March 2, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: March 2, 2012 6:00 a.m.

Open under new management since last July, Cathy’s Deli is in the Wayman Court Shopping Center at Lyons Avenue and Wayman Street in Newhall.

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You come in for the delicious and well-priced food, of course. But you also come in to see your "family." And beyond that, you can take away a little daily inspiration when you need it. The food and the family are a combination that has made Cathy's Delicatessen Restaurant in Newhall a tradition for 12 years (and, actually, long before that, when Cathy's was Danny's). And the spiritual uplift is an additional benefit offered since the Traba family took over the ownership of Cathy's last July.

Lupita Traba, who owns the restaurant with her husband Val Traba, said, "It's the same concept, the same, home-style food. We kept the same recipes, but we remodeled when we took over."

She said that "faith" is the theme of the new decor, as evidenced by inspirational plaques on the walls and signs on the tables, with such offerings as: "When in doubt, look up," or "Count your blessings," or "Live a life of love."

"We believe our small, daily reminders are needed for everyday life," Traba said, and she related a couple stories to me of customers who had thanked her for the uplifts, which were waiting for them at Cathy's on days they really needed them.
The longevity of the recipes and popularity of the dishes at Cathy's is easily explained, as Traba said the restaurant has had the same cooks for 15 years. And this also helps provide the family atmosphere, which now includes Val, Lupita and their college-student children, who work at the restaurant when they can.

Traba said that Cathy's is known to be a comfortable place to eat, with family-style, home-style food.
"For breakfast, people rave about our Corned Beef Hash," she said, "and our Flaky French Toast is also one of the breakfast favorites. Some people order it for lunch." (Breakfast and lunch are available all day at Cathy's, from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. seven days a week.)

One very important sign at Cathy's offers the restaurant's motto: "Enter as strangers. Leave as friends." And Cathy's sure has a lot of friends. On the day of this interview I met a few of them, including Edwin Dobkowski, who said he has been eating there for 10 years. "The food is the best I've had in the valley," he said.

Traba also showed me a handful of written testimonials, including one from Tom Yellen ("Best brisket sandwich in the SCV") and one from Jeff Ralston ("Cathy's deli is a blessing to our community. Their motto ... is totally true.")
Additionally, Traba said the Hart High School class of 1966 meets at Cathy's the first Monday of every month, and the girls basketball team from The Master's College eats there often during basketball season.

The varied menu at Cathy's offers just about everything you could want, including south of the border items such as tacos and burritos. Traba said that several menu items are named after regular customers who "created" or inspired them, including Fred's New York Pastrami Sandwich, Aaron's Omelet and Maureen's Special Dessert.

"Our prices are reasonable," she said. Breakfasts run from $5.50 to $10.99 (steak and eggs) and lunch from $6.50 to $9.99 (specialty sandwiches).

"We are also known for our homemade soups," she said. "On a rainy day our regular customers say our Matzo Ball and Chicken soups are ‘medicine' to cure their colds."

During my visit I was fortunate to be able to sample that Matzo Ball Soup, Fred's New York Pastrami Sandwich and the famous Flaky French Toast.

Matzo Ball Soup ($5.95 bowl): The broth was light, yet packed with flavor - just salty enough to be satisfying. The matzo ball was tender and tasty and the vegetables well-cooked, yet retaining a firm freshness, and there was enough chicken to hold my interest.

Flaky French Toast ($6.95): Mine came with two eggs over-easy and hash browns ($7.99). The eggs were perfectly cooked and delicious with or without the side of homemade salsa, and the hash browns crunchy on the outside and tender inside. And, oh my, that French Toast. Crunchy from cornflakes on top and a light crusting elsewhere, these were slices of heaven, with or without the light powdered sugar or the use of syrup.

Fred's New York Pastrami Sandwich ($8.99): A heaping mound of lean pastrami on rye bread, with Swiss cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing (cole slaw and French fries on the side), this is a tasty and satisfying meal, perfect for meat lovers.

To sum up, my visit to Cathy's Deli was a delicious, friendly, full-filling and uplifting experience. I'm sure you will find the same.

Cathy's Deli is in the Wayman Court Shopping Center at the corner of Lyons Avenue and Wayman Street (23120 Lyons Ave., #24, Newhall, CA 91321). Call (661) 288-2217. You can order in or take out, and nearby delivery is free.

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