I have a couple of new addictions that you should know about: the roast chicken sandwich and the piccolo cappuccino at South Pasadena’s sweet new spot, Fiore Market Café. That’s not to say the other offerings aren’t good—they are. It’s just hard to not keep getting that same sandwich. Made with bread baked daily by owner Bill Disselhorst (who runs the place with his wife, Anne, also a baker), it combines a thick hunk of house-roasted chicken with a walnutty pesto and a small, rich dollop of burrata cheese. It’s the best chicken sandwich I’ve had in a very, very long time. As for the coffee, it comes from Cafecito Organico and is made with care, and all the coffee drinks are good. But you just don’t see those wee piccolos—a small shot of creamy espresso with a little cap of milk foam—in many places.
Occupying the place that once held the cutting-edge Bistro K, in the Fremont Centre Theatre building, Fiore is an order-at-the-counter café furnished with country antiques. Most of the seating is outside, so it was bad luck that the Disselhorsts first opened during the endless December rains, but nonetheless locals found them, and business is getting better every day. On any given afternoon you might see a gaggle of South Pas High kids sharing some of Anne’s superb red-velvet or vegan chocolate cupcakes, friends talking over salads or sandwiches, and a reader with a novel and a latte. The regulars have their favorites; while I dream of my next roast chicken sandwich, others crave the short-rib sandwich, the tempeh BLT (vegan), the vegetarian chopped salad or the always-good daily soup. Another nice touch is the piccolo sandwiches for $4 to $5—they make for terrific snacks for lighter eaters. There’s also a swell grilled cheese for kids, a deli case filled with lovely takeout salads, and homey cookies and bars.
Most of the produce comes from the farmers’ markets or from local vendors, and Bill is very much present, serving plates and refilling drinks himself.
Fiore is the kind of place we see more often in San Francisco and Portland and wish we had in our own neighborhood. First central Pasadena got Euro Pane, then west Pasadena got Little Flower, and now South Pasadena has Fiore… our café culture is getting better and better.
1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena, 626.441.2280, fioremarketcafe.com. Italian/American. B & L daily. MC, V. $