Ggiata Delicatessen grew from a ghost kitchen whipping up well-built Italian sandwiches to a public-facing restaurant along a busy stretch of Melrose Avenue within the span of two years. And on November 15, the deli will enter its next chapter with a second outpost in West Hollywood, taking over the former Irv’s Burgers spot at 7998 Santa Monica Boulevard. Expect new sandwiches, bigger digs with room for dining in, and a grab-and-go market.
The idea for Ggiata was planted in 2019 when its trio of owners and longtime friends, Noah Holton-Raphael, Max Bahramipour, and Jack Biebel, who live and work together out of the same house, wanted to pay homage to the sandwich shops they missed in their hometown of Montclair, New Jersey. When Ggiata opened its first outpost in March 2021, it quickly became a popular spot for takeout sandwiches, like chicken parm on a seeded baguette, and a classic Italian with salami, Cotto ham, and Calabrian aioli. It also became known for other Italian favorites like arancini in a spicy vodka sauce and rainbow cookies.
This new location is the fruition of the owners’ dreams to take things up a notch to a bigger restaurant that goes beyond takeout and delivery. “To be honest, when we [set up] the first place, we did it with basically no money,” says Bahramipour. “So we did everything we could this go-round, and we’re in a lucky position to be able to bring some of the ideas we originally had to life.”
In addition to the sandwiches they already carry at the Melrose location, this West Hollywood spot will also feature a new tuna salad, turkey club, buffalo chicken with house-made sauces and pickles, and a bodega cheesesteak. Chef Cele Cruz and pastry chef Cristy Erickson are at the helm. “What we love about the Melrose Hill shop is that people come in and are very animated about delis, and their likes and dislikes, so we’ve gotten over a year of really inspired customer feedback,” says Holton-Raphael.
The casual 1,000-square-foot space has light wood tones throughout, with enough seating for 10 inside and an additional 10 outdoors for sidewalk dining. The space doubles as a small market, where the team will be selling aioli, spreads, pickles, and staples like dried pasta and sun-dried tomatoes. Soon, Ggiata will also start a beer and wine menu led by a former employee and sommelier, Steve Kramer, and will serve natural wines from local outfit Jumbo Time Wines, among others. Diners will be able to grab bottles for retail or enjoy them in the restaurant.
Some familiar design elements from the Melrose location will be making a comeback, like the shop’s whimsical hand-drawn signs that include shoutouts to New Jersey and the fictional Satriale’s Pork Store from HBO’s The Sopranos. The team hired Canadian artist Peter Mercury to paint portraits of pop-culture icons they love from the East Coast, including Tony Soprano, Shaquille O’Neal, Spike Lee, and Adam Sandler.
The Ggiata brand is the owners’ first foray into the food world. The friends had previously worked in other industries like technology and fashion, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they spent a lot of time at home making sandwiches. “We were doing a lot of reflecting, and the three of us decided that we should roll the dice on this thing now if we’re ever going to do it,” says Holton-Raphael. With this new location opening, that idea seems like it was the right move.
Ggiata Delicatessen will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.