Erik's DeliCafe served its first sandwich from a small storefront in Scotts Valley on Sept. 17, 1973.
Tuesday, the community celebrated the restaurant's four decades in business with a surfers vs. mountain bikers sandwich-eating contest and giving half of the day's profits to Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.
Founder Erik Johnson spoke Tuesday about the restaurant chain's humble roots: cracking walnuts at night so his mother could make carrot cake, growing their own sprouts for sandwiches "because there's no nutritional value in iceberg lettuce" and picking up food for the shop in his old VW Bug.
The fun continues Wednesday at Erik's downtown Santa Cruz, 155 Walnut Ave. Santa Cruz Vice Mayor Lynn Robinson will give a proclamation outside City Hall at 3 p.m. to commemorate Erik’s DeliCafe’s 40th Anniversary. Then there will be a flash mob by the Boys & Girls Club, and a time capsule will be created and sealed at the downtown Santa Cruz DeliCafé. Proceeds from the day's sales will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Cruz.