Kathryn Gunn has been a barista at a mall and a server in a restaurant — and now she’s the boss at Delly Beans Sandwiches and Gourmet Coffee on Shaw Avenue.
Gunn, 30, bought the shop in 2015, and it’s older than she is. From what longtime customers tell her, the shop goes back about 35 years.
She’s made a few strategic additions to the menu (paninis, anyone?) as well as upgrading the produce, meats and breads used to create a variety of interesting sandwiches.
But, Gunn was careful not to make so many changes that loyal customers felt rattled. She valued the established clientele that came with the business.
“It helped not to have to start from scratch,” Gunn said.
One big change that should prove popular is coming this month. Delly Beans will expand its barbecue menu from tri-tip on Friday to tri-tip, chicken and ribs Monday through Saturday. (The shop is closed on Sunday.)
“We want to turn this into a little barbecue pit,” Gunn said, smiling. “And I know that Clovis is particular about its barbecue.”
The barbecue offerings will join a full range of sandwiches, “croissantwiches,” salads, paninis and breakfast items.
Among Delly Beans’ specialty sandwiches, the Turkey Club (turkey, bacon and Swiss cheese on sourdough) was the biggest seller in 2016.
The Wholly Cow (hot roast beef with green chili peppers, melted Swiss cheese, bacon and onion rings on a toasted bun) also is popular, especially with men working physically-demanding jobs like construction, Gunn said.
Her favorite sandwich is The San Luis — turkey, cream cheese, sprouts, Italian artichoke spread and tomato on marble rye bread.
Customers can choose from one of five sides — macaroni salad, potato salad, chips, avocado slices or fruit salad — to go with their sandwiches. Prices range between $5.75 for chicken or tuna salad (freshly made when ordered) to $7 for the Wholly Cow. Half-sandwiches also are available.
Meanwhile, another type of sandwich — a grilled and pressed panini, made with meat and/or cheese — is another lunch option. Panini choices include the Turkey Pesto (turkey, basil pesto, provolone cheese and tomatoes on white bread) and the Grilled Cheese (American, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses with tomatoes; bacon and avocado optional). Full paninis range from $4.25 to $6.75, and half servings are an option.
In addition, three salads are on the menu: the House Salad, Harvest Cobb and B.L.T. Bowl. Prices range from $6 to $7.25.
For the record, the House Salad is more interesting than it might sound. It has chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, hard boiled eggs and croutons, with a choice of three dressings.
The Harvest Cobb is the most popular with its combination of bacon, apples, dried cranberries, candied pecans, hard boiled egg, feta cheese and homemade poppyseed dressing. Adding chicken is an option.
Breakfast fare includes traditional items such as the Breakfast Burrito (egg, bacon and avocado) and Breakfast Sandwich (egg, ham and cheese on a croissant or bagel). In addition, Gunn has created a breakfast Apple Sandwich, which features apples slices, cream cheese and peanut butter on wheat toast. Breakfast items range from $1.50 to $3.
On a recent morning, Laura Youngberg of Clovis enjoyed a bagel with cream cheese and coffee. A regular customer, she said the food is consistently good and the staff is friendly.
When it comes to coffee and espresso, Delly Beans offers standards such as latte, mocha, Americano and cappuccino with flavor shots available. Hot and cold drinks come in small, medium and large, with prices ranging from $1.50 to $4.
Delly Beans is a family operation. Gunn’s mother, Yusan Gunn, helps with food preparation and does the payroll. Gunn’s father, George Gunn Jr., does the accounting, while her 3-year-old son, Jace, likes to get involved when he’s at the shop. When other children come in, he’ll offer to sit with them and share his toys.
Good cooks run in Gunn’s family. Her mother knows her way around Chinese and Italian dishes, and her late grandmother, Lee Sprengert, excelled at preparing wonderful comfort food — vegetable beef soup, biscuits and gravy, and bierocks.
Gunn started in the food/beverage industry in high school working as a barista at a Gloria Jean’s Coffees at Fashion Fair Mall. “I liked serving people, and it was something I could excel at,” she said.
Later, she worked as a server at the Elbow Room Bar & Grill in Fig Garden Village and further refined her concept of customer service. “I really cared about guests and making sure that, from the time they sat down to the time they left, they got the quality they paid for,” she said.
Owning Delly Beans has made Gunn realize the time commitment and responsibilities that go with running your own business. A nearby business owner told her: “If you still like it after a year, you’re doing good.”
It’s been more than a year, and Gunn can report that she’s enjoying the work.
“I like to make sure that people are fed and happy, and that they walk out the door satisfied,” she said.
Delly Beans is at 2141 Shaw Ave., No. 111 (Shaw and Armstrong avenues). The phone number is (559) 323-8054, and the shop is on Facebook. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.