“Brown Bag was 'the' deli in Point Loma for 40 years,” said Joyce noting, “We also do meals to-go every day. And then the deli just fell into place. I would have never known it would turn out the way it did.”
Joyce, who got his moniker “Butter” in his early surfing days growing up in Ocean Beach, opened Surf Side Deli at 1912 Rosecrans St. about three months ago.
Joyce credited “40 years of serving the military in this town” for his success in re-establishing a deli onsite.
The Obecian chef has extensive experience at culinary hot spots around town including the Crab Catcher and Jake's Del Mar. He's worked as a chef on sportfishing yachts, and been a private chef on a yacht that sailed the world making stops in the Caribbean at Jamaica, Aruba and the Cayman Islands.
In the catering business locally, Joyce has served several hundred people during visits to San Diego by high-profile Democrats John Kerry (during his presidential bid) and Vice President Joe Biden.
Surf Side Deli is just Joyce's latest venture. “I'm really good at catering,” he said. “That's what I've been doing for a long time.”
Military and sports memorabilia cover the walls at Surf Side. In one corner is an array of bats from former major league pitcher David Wells, a Point Loma High School alum who is now the school's baseball coach, and has a field named after him.
There are numerous military and surf photos as well as a few select surfboards hung up on the walls. Underwater murals depicting local kelp beds and fish species adorn the deli both inside and out.
There is lots of local lore to be found at Surf Side, including stuff from popular OB band Slightly Stoopid.
“We have the music going, sports, and surfing” noted Joyce.
Talking about his business philosophy, Joyce said, “We wanted to keep things simple.When I came in here there was a menu for 40 sandwiches. I said, 'No.' We're going to do 10 really good sandwiches, all sandwiches I have catered at parties with before.”
There are two things unique at Surf Side. “The biggest thing is I'm a chef, these are chef-inspired sandwiches,” Joyce said. “We use fresh bread brought in daily.”
We have a way that we make it so that it's fresh. Every hour we bake new bread. That makes our sandwiches really good.”
Joyce added Surf Side also “roasts our own meats, turkey and roast beef. It's all natural, no hormones. We also slow roast our own pulled pork here. Those three meats — nobody's doing that. There's no sulfides, no additives. We also use American tuna for our tuna sandwiches.”
A 10 1/2-inch sandwich will set you back about $8, $11 with chips and a beverage.
“Anywhere else in the city, a sandwich like this is $10 to $12,” noted Joyce.
Lunch at Surf Side comes with a guarantee.
“I stand behind everything I do,” said the chef. “My food costs are higher because we want people to come in an enjoy this experience. Most days you'll find people in here reminiscing about sports, or legendary surfers.
There's something else unique about Surf Side: Joyce's own brand, Billy Butter's gourmet butter, which is also on sale.
Surf Side Deli
Where: 1912 Rosecrans St.
Hours: Mondays to Saturdays 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Sunday.