South Congress' transformation is one of the most dramatic in the city over the past two decades. In the days of Just Guns and the seedy and notorious San José Motel, it was impossible to imagine that the motel would become a sleek and trendy destination lodge and that American Apparel mannequins would lure well-heeled pedestrians. Even more unlikely in those days of streetwalkers as opposed to street pedestrians would have been the notion of a slick and shiny food market along the lines of Cissi's. But the avenue is now the busiest boulevard in the city, trendy spots are de rigueur, and Cissi's practically exemplifies the "new" South Congress. It's been on the scene for a couple of years now, but management has changed and the market/coffee bar/grocery/takeout is evolving. It's more a take-food-out or an eat-a-treat-in spot than the Farm to Market Grocery farther south on Congress. Expanses of glass bring the street scene inside, and within the sun-dappled space, you'll find a coffee bar with lots of tasty baked treats to go along with your cup of joe. Farther back in the space, fresh meats are available, and prepared foods provide nice options for takeout. You can build a complete and delicious meal from the rotating options of entrées and sides and anchor it with some Sweetish Hill bread that's sold on the premises. A deli offers made-to-order sandwiches with imaginative and eclectic combinations like the Oohhh 4: broiled eggplant and zucchini with tomato confit, basil puree, and ricotta on focaccia. La-di-da and yum-yum! Lots of wines and beers can complete your fancy feast, and when practicality dictates, staples like milk, yogurt, pasta, and sauces are available, too.
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