Good eats on the cheap: Victoria offers a tasty secret

By By Jenni Koehler

By Jenni Koehler

It’s difficult to come up with an accurate restaurant category for Pion Market & Caf. Even its owner, Victoria Topham, has trouble describing it.

Some say it’s an upscale deli, others a caf and still others call it a casual restaurant. Regardless, when it comes to breakfast and lunch eateries, this one blows all the others out of the water. This is what every deli-owner-and person starved for delicious food-dreams of.

Ten years ago, lifelong cuisine artist Victoria Topham fulfilled her dream and opened Pion, an oasis of satisfyingly healthful, surprisingly flavorful and uncommonly creative food. The restaurant specializes in sandwiches, salads and desserts. “The unique thing about Pion is that our menu changes every day,” Topham says.

Pion’s staff prepares everything from scratch daily and on site, taking a new stance in the deli business.

The chefs bake all of the bread, roast all of the meat, concoct all the mayonnaises and dressings and use only the freshest produce available. Every mouth-watering, flavor-bursting bite proves that this is the way everything should be done.

For breakfast, the chefs bake muffins, biscuits and scones daily, and they offer a wide variety of desserts and dinner entrees as well. You can even find gourmet doggie biscuits there.

With sandwiches like rosemary roast beef, bacon avocado, ham and brie and garden vegetarian, and salads like tarragon chicken salad, tortellini primavera and Asian sesame roasted asparagus salad, one glance at the menu confirms that Pion’s selection is fresh, inventive and invariably appetizing-not to mention affordable. Many sandwiches cost $6.25, and salad prices start at $2.49 per one-fourth of a pound.

All the sandwiches come on a choice of wheat, focaccia, sourdough or sourdough rye, and many come with distinctive spreads or dressings, such as the herb cream cheese on the grilled chicken breast sandwich and the basil mayo on the oven roasted turkey sandwich.

The tantalizing and refreshing Pion vegetarian sandwich is loaded with marinated grilled vegetables, fresh spinach, pine nuts, oven-roasted tomatoes and an exquisite house-made balsamic dressing. The rich flavors work together to create a symphony of flavor in your mouth. This is what a sandwich is supposed to be.

To enjoy the undoubtedly delicious morsel you’ve just chosen, sit down and relax in Pion’s cozy caf-ish climate or get it to go, and savor your meal anywhere. Or, next time you throw a party or are expected to bring food to someone else’s, order something from Pion’s extensive catering menu.

What could be better than sharing such heavenly food with your friends or family? Perhaps only yielding to the urge to take all the credit and tell them that, yes, you cooked this. Really.

Founder, owner, manager and chef, Victoria Topham, is both a culinary connoisseur and a creative genius. With such excellent service and delectably affordable gourmet fare, it’s amazing that Pion has managed to remain a secret for so long.

Seriously, you have to try this place. You’re only punishing yourself if you don’t.

[email protected]