By The Peninsula Foodist
North Beach deli veteran opens 'one-stop shop' for Italian American sandwiches and gelato in downtown BurlingameUploaded: Feb 16, 2022
By Anthony Shu
Many of Caffe Stellato's sandwiches use meats and cheeses imported from Italy. Photo courtesy Lana Abu-Arafeh.
The latest addition in downtown Burlingame, Caffe Stellato serves morning espresso, sandwiches made with imported Italian ingredients and over 40 flavors of gelato. Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), the deli and dessert shop aims to welcome a variety of customers. "It's your one-stop shop … A lot of people eat their sandwich, then they come back in and get their gelato or get their coffee," says Lana Abu-Arafeh, who runs Caffe Stellato with her husband Malik Zughayar.
Zughayar lived in San Francisco's historically Italian American neighborhood of North Beach for 15 years and worked as a manager at the Italian deli and gelato shop Alimento. He fell in love with Italian culture and food amidst hanging salumi and a case filled with colorful gelatos. Now, he's sharing these beloved flavors on the Peninsula.
Zughayar draws from his experience to develop the extensive sandwich menu, which includes 23 different creations. The deli prides itself on harnessing high-quality ingredients imported from Italy including prosciutto di Parma, the ham well known for its protected appellation.
Caffe Stellato offers 42 flavors of gelato prepared by chef Tony Bonviso. Photo courtesy Lana Abu-Arafeh.
Signature sandwiches include The Goodfella, which layers roast beef, prosciutto di Parma, salami, provolone cheese and basil on crisp ciabatta, and The Stellato Special Sandwich, which pairs turkey, artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella with calabrese spicy spread (hot calabrian chilis blended with other vegetables).
The gelatos are made by chef Tony Bonviso, who has over 40 years of experience in the business. Caffe Stellato's 42 offerings include traditional Italian flavors like stracciatella dotted with chocolate shavings and dark green pistachio, but they also draw from international influences with flavors including lychee, blackberry cabernet and peanut butter. Zughayar helped inspire some of the gelatos, including cardamom and rocky road. "Nobody would ever think (of cardamom in a gelato), but everyone falls in love with it," Abu-Arafeh says. Thanks to Abu-Arafeh and Zughayar's children, cotton candy will be added to the menu soon.
Rounding out the menu are assorted pastries from Dianda's Italian American Pastry and a small assortment of salads.
Next week, Caffe Stellato hopes to add outdoor seating right on Burlingame Avenue. Abu-Arafeh and Zughayar want customers to enjoy relaxing outside with an espresso, a sandwich, and a scoop of gelato.
Craving sandwiches now? See our list of 15 of our local favorites.
Caffe Stellato, 1112 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame, 650-315-2003; Instagram: @caffestellato.
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