1610 Grand Ave., Norwood, 970/327-0309
Norwood’s Happy Belly Deli stands by its name, leaving its customers just that – satisfied and smiling thanks to fresh, original offerings, from baked goods to daily lunch specials. A typical morning finds customers buzzing at the front counter ordering espresso drinks and selecting perhaps a gluten-free banana ginger walnut muffin ($2.25), one of chef Julie Thorneycroft’s famous granola bars (either fruit and seed or peanut butter chocolate chip – both also gluten free, $2.50), or a toasted bagel with the works (lox, cream cheese, capers, tomato, cucumber, red onion and sprouts – $9.50). Make sure to arrive early for one of Thorneycroft’s coveted cinnamon rolls – large and luscious with cinnamon and cream cheese icing ($2.50).
Happy Belly’s bulging breakfast burritos are stuffed full with a mixture of scrambled eggs, potatoes and cheese. Choose from veggie, chorizo, or “The Big Nasty” – ham, bacon, sausage and green chilies ($7.25). Or go “naked” with a breakfast bowl. The Sausage Bowl ($6) is an indulgence, with scrambled eggs, potatoes and sausage gravy, while the Green Bowl is perhaps a more “heart-healthy” option, with green onions, green chilies, spinach and cheddar cheese ($6.50).
Being a small town restaurant, Happy Belly is all about keeping its customers content, so variations on the standard egg, toast and meat breakfast are not out of the question. You can event substitute local eggs when they have them on hand.
By 11 a.m., the restaurant switches over to lunch, so be sure to check out the specials board. Thorneycroft maintains a daily quiche, which can be paired with a salad for $8.50. There’s also typically a daily soup ($4.75/$6) and entrée to choose from. Tuesday’s lunch special currently features a specialty meat offering, such as fresh sausage, from Norwood’s new local meat purveyor, R&D. Often inspired by what’s available at the Norwood Farm & Craft Market, during the summer you’ll find local cucumbers and tomatoes tucked into sandwiches and salads, or fresh beets and fall squashes featured in late summer and fall offerings.
Aside from build-your-own deli sandwiches, lunch menu mainstays include the HBD “Reuben” (roast beef, sauerkraut, swiss and Dijon on grilled rye, $8.75); the Middle East Wrap (hummus, feta, carrots, pepper rings, kalamata olives, cukes, lettuce and Greek dressing in a whole wheat tortilla, $8.75); and the Chicken Pesto sandwich (Chicken breast and basil pesto on toasted, house-baked focaccia with provolone, tomato and sprouts, $8.50).
Top off lunch with one of Thorneycroft’s baked-in-house desserts, from brownies to cookies (try the carrot with orange icing) to buttercream frosted cupcakes. And while the colorfully frosted flower and butterfly sugar cookies might grab the attention of Happy Belly’s youngest customers, it’s the adults that keep coming back for more of their soft, buttery goodness. If the day is hot, cool off with some soft serve ice cream or a smoothie. Whatever it is you’re hankering for, you’ll find something to satisfy you at Happy Belly.
DON’T MISS: The Happy Belly Deli’s specials board. Here is where you’ll find Julie Thorneycroft’s creative hands at work. (Her favorite special is the Thai Chicken Wrap, with peanut sauce, rice noodles, cucumber, carrots, cilantro and lime). In fact, a gathering catered by Happy Belly is highly recommended and where you will see Thorneycroft’s talent as chef shine most.
THE VIBE: Not afraid of color, the Happy Belly is brightly (happily) painted and features comfortable booths and tables, as well as a community table. They also provide outdoor seating during the summer in a spacious side courtyard. With free wi-fi, it’s common to find customers parked at tables with their noses in their laptops. But the deli is also a great community gathering spot where customers come on a regular basis to meet and eat and, well, be happy.
$$ Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.