Chef Matthew Allison, a longtime chef at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, is the latest culinary entrepreneur to bring his culinary talents to Highland Park.
Allison is the owner of Mateo's Deli Cafe, which has been operating behind the deli counter at on 5200 Monte Vista Street for about a week.
The menu currently consists of contemporary spins on deli classics, including a pulled-pork/Jamaican Jerk taco and a BLT sandwich with Gorgonzola cheese.
"Basically, I'm trying to keep it simple, but keep it good," Allison told Patch. "The reason I want to keep it simple is because I want to have more freedom to whip up specials. I want to deli to be a place where I can experiment with the type of food I want to make."
Mateo's doesn't have a defined style, Allison said, but it will lean heavily on products created by local artisans.
"Everything in the deli will be hand made, except for the sauces made by local artisans," he said.
For example, Allison will be using Altadena-crafted Shrunken Head Barbecue sauce in many his recipes.
"I'm really trying to support the community by using local ingredients, so I hope the community will support me as well," Allison said.
The deli counter at La Tropicana has been vacant since December. It's previous tenant, Smokin' Mamas, moved out of the space following the death of owner .
La Tropicana owner Rana Redfiled said that, so far, Allison has been a great fit inside the market.
Allison agreed, saying "we share a lot of ideas about what we want to provide the community."