Obligatory Bay Cities Lunch (And I Did It In Under 40 Minutes)

Bay Cities

Over the weekend I had these words thrown at me by a good friend: “You’re a foodie a you haven’t been to Bay Cities yet!” First of all, don’t ever call me the F word. And if you ever hear me using the F word to describe myself, feel free to tell me to shut up.  (Unless I’m calling myself fat.  Because that is true.)  Second of all… uh… no.  I haven’t been to Bay Cities yes.  Is that bad? Is this is a challenge?  Do I need to fix this right away by scarfing a giant Italian sub with the works while sitting on a sidewalk in Santa Monica?  Yes, yes I do.

From the little but of research I put in on the interwebs machine it appears as if anybody who works, or lives, or has ever been to Santa Monica, even for a day, knows about Bay Cities. (And it seems as if everyone of them have yelped about it too.)  Every one of these people also know that the sandwich to get is the Godmother (featuring Genoa Salami, Mortadella Coppacola, Ham, Prosciutto, Provolone.)  Even the friend who recommended Bay Cities to me sent me the word “GODMOTHA!!!!!!!!” as the only contents of an email… and she’s a freakin’ vegetarian.  Really?  You don’t eat meat, but you’re exclaiming the virtues of a five meat + cheese Italian gutbomb?  How could this possibly be anything but amazing?

Bay Cities

Oh right… the line.  Not only does everybody know about Bay Cities, but everybody eats at Bay Cities.  Every day.  Thankfully I ordered online.  That’s right…why are all these schmucks fighting each other at the deli counter?  I headed back to the super secret (it seemed that way anyway) kitchen in the back near the wine, where completed sandwiches were being stacked on a shelf ready to be paid for by those of us who had the forethought to order online before heading over.

Bay Cities

You look for your name on the sheets of paper, and take whatever sandwich is yours.  Five minutes on line to pay at the cash register, and I was ready for the “GODMOTHA!!!!”

Bay Cities

The small with “the works” (Mayo, Mustard, Onions, Pickles, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Italian Dressing & Mild or Hot Pepper Salad) was $6.45 and plenty of food, although I could see how there would be days when a large would be necessary (don’t worry, it’s not twice as big… because that would be insane.)  The bread is exactly what you’d expect from a sandwich like this, and unsurprisingly it’s a complete mess.  (That tends to happen with you top a sandwich with mayo, mustard AND Italian dressing.)  A revelation?  No. Revelations, for me, don’t happen at deli counters with Boar’s Head.  But it’s a fine sandwich, especially when you don’t have to wait in line to get it!

Bay Cities

What was a revelation was the chicken parm!  Ok, maybe revelation is a strong word for it… but their chicken parm is damn good.  Super flavorful breading on the chicken and a great tasting sauce- which does wonders for the bread (especially if you find it too hard to chew.)  When I saw bell peppers I was totally skeptical, but it worked. I kind of loved it.

Bay Cities

Sure, the chicken could be a little more moist in places, but all in all it was the best chicken parm I’ve had in awhile.  Kind of made me wonder why more people don’t go for the hot food just to the right of the deli counter (no line there! You can just walk up and order.)

Bay Cities

In and out, and back to my car in under 40 minutes.  No joke.  Now I know what you’re saying.  “Zach!  Where the hell did you park?  Sometimes it takes 20 minutes just to get into that damn parking lot.”  Truthfully, I didn’t even bother with the parking lot.  Heading NW up Lincoln I stayed to the left, went past the deli and there were a ton of open 1 hour meters btw. Broadway and Santa Monica.  And since I ordered online, I didn’t have to worry about feeding the meter or lunch taking too long.  It was a Tuesday… so maybe it was a fluke?  Who knows.  All I know is, I either got incredibly lucky on all fronts, or an easy weekday Bay Cities lunch is possible if you work in the area and order online.

Just don’t go on Monday.  They’re closed.


  • Order online, and there’s no wait! (Just make sure to do it 45 minutes before you pick it up.)
  • I love giant, bready Italian American subs, with assorted meats and cheeses
  • Their hot subs (chicken parm and meatball) are really good too, and the sauce helps to soften the bread up a bit
  • The lines move pretty fast… even if you don’t order online.


  • Overrated!!!
  • For $6.35 you know they’ve giving you the domestic stuff.  Sorry- Boar’s Head is not my thing.
  • The bread is way to chewy. Not into it.
  • The chicken parm was a little dry and too thick.  I like it pounded thin.
  • I’m really picky, and if you order online they don’t let you customize your sub.
  • I have to think about lunch, and order it, 45 minutes before I actually get to eat it?  No way
  • You went on a Tuesday!  Shit… find a parking space in under 40 minutes on a Friday and then I’ll believe it.
  • Closed on Mondays?  WTF.

Bay Cities Deli,1517 Lincoln Blvd. (btw. Colorado & Broadway), 310-395-8279

Order online here.



  • You can customize your sandwiches online – adding whatever condiments you want or you can also include a note to leave something out. Have it your way, as some fast food place said.

    • I thought the Godmother was “no substitutions” according to the online ordering page.

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        If you ask for a Godmother with substitutions at the counter, they’ll playfully tell you they can make you that exact sandwich for the same price or cheaper, but it won’t be a godmother.

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    Sorrento’s in Culver City is less trendy–everything in Santa Monica is trendy, after all–but you’re more likely to find real Italian-Americans there.

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    The “revelation” comes from the fact that it’s very hard to find a sandwich this good in Los Angeles.

    In NYC there are a zillion corner delis that can do it. Here, unless you’re at some gourmet sandwich place you make due with squishy bread and mayonnaise where it often doesn’t belong.

    Which is why, whenever I’m working anywhere remotely close to Santa Monica, I’ll go. Never got the chicken parm though, but I will now have to try it.

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    Never been, Z-man. And from your review, it doesn’t look like I’m missing out on much. I’ll fill my one hoagie per year quota when I visit Swarthmore each fall for the XC alumni meet ;-) Mmmm, Renatos!

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    FYI – While they do have the standard Boar’s Head selection, for the godmother:

    Coppacola, Ham, Provolone: Boar’s Head

    Genoa Salami – Italian Import

    Mortadella (2 types):
    1) An imported Italian pistacchio mortadella (used for godmother)
    2) Non-Boar’s Head domestic.

    Prosciutto (3 types):
    1) di Parma (imported from Italy)
    2) Italian style (imported from Canada. top quality. used for godmother)
    3) Domestic (terrible, avoid at all costs. cheap, dry, gross).

    Regardless, I agree the sandwich is only ok (but I think it helps explain the price). The best thing to do, though, is buy their extremely well-priced deli cuts, olives, and cheeses. I go to this place about twice weekly for that.

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