"The salt content of the onions and mushrooms from small farms varies," says Scratch Deli owner Ian Thackaberry. "I worry about that. I like to measure everything exactly." The only issue with the content of the vegetarian cheesesteak ($8) Ian made, layered with caramelized onions and marinated shiitakes, was the piece of its paper wrapping I accidentally chewed up in goatlike enthusiasm. Thackaberry has a degree in economics—he used to be a financial adviser—so it's not surprising that he's such a calculating sandwich-maker.
Disappointingly, no sandwich-related graphs decorate the walls of the space Scratch Deli is temporarily sharing with People's Republic of Koffee (1718 12th Ave, 755-5727), though there are some watercolors, one depicting a mutant made entirely of arms. The comfortable mismatched furniture looks like it might be left over from the building's years as a private home. The Scratch Deli truck, formerly stationed outside Wine World in Wallingford, will return to the streets once it has been retooled.
Thackaberry made his debut in the food industry as a butcher at Whole Foods. When asked why he opts for marinated shiitakes as a meat substitute, he replied, "Because I suck at tofu. I found an incredible mushroom supplier—they have the most unbelievable depth of flavor you can't approach with tempeh or tofu." Whatever issues he may have with tofu, his mushrooms are flawless, even with paper in them.