If taking your kids to an organic restaurant run by an obscure religious group doesn’t sound like fun, you haven’t been to Yellow Deli. Nestled deep in the rural area of Valley Center, this restaurant serves hip dishes in a quaint, countryside setting. It’s like a picnic in the park, without the hassle of bringing your own blankets and baskets.

Yellow Deli

A Religious Diner?
Yellow Deli is part of an informal chain of eateries started by a Christian fundamentalist community founded in Chattanooga in 1972. The group believes in breaking with mainstream thought and serving healthy food in the midst of a “fried chicken culture.” The various diners exist not to be religious centers, but places where people can come and observe selfless living and peace.

Yellow Deli salad

What to Order
Here you’ll find natural and organic, locally-sourced foods. Kick back with some Yerba Mate tea and their signature submarine sandwich or our favorite cranberry cashew salad. Those with a heartier appetite won’t be disappointed by kettle-cooked chili with a homemade taste.Liquid diet? No problem. Yellow Deli serves fresh-squeezed juices and an aptly named “green drink.”

inside Yellow Deli

Rain or Shine
Outdoor seating offers a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere with a soft breeze and harmonious tunes. Be sure and poke your head into the adorable indoor space for a peek at their handcrafted booths and hanging basket lamps. During the winter, you can cozy up here by a cast iron stove and warm your hands with some hot tea. Inside, they also display a variety of all-natural products for sale.

Get your “Kumbaya” On
If you want to grab a free meal and learn more about the Yellow Deli family, ask one of the servers about their Friday night dinners. The whole crew gets together on their farm weekly for an open house night where the whole community is welcome.

Poison Oak sign

After Lunch
Take a walk out back to see some fruits and vegetables that the employees tend to in their spare time. But don’t wander too far! Poison Oak in the area can make for an unpleasant ending to your meal. If you happen to be in Valley Center in late spring or early July, make sure to take a trip to the lavender farm just around the corner from the deli.

32011 Lilac Rd
Valley Center, Ca 92082
Online: yellowdeli.com

Good to Know: The Yellow Deli also has a location in Vista, and a few more in random spots throughout the United States. Check out their website to sign up for their newsletter and get the inside scoop on all their events and offerings.

Have you been to Yellow Deli? Tell us about this under the radar spot in the comment section below!

Copy and photos by: Chelsea Day