On Monday, after months of anticipation and construction, Chris Fanelli will open the doors of his Sausage Deli in 2,200 square feet of shiny newness.
Today is the final day at the original Sausage Deli that has stood on the corner of North First Avenue and East Grant Road for 35 years. Demolition crews will soon tear it down to make way for a Walgreens store. Fanelli, whose family has owned the restaurant since 2003 and whose father, Joseph P. Fanelli, owned the property, said they are hoping to salvage some of the adobe bricks. He plans to sell them and donate some of the proceeds to charity, he said.
"This building … the upkeep takes a lot of maintenance," he said last week as the lunchtime crowd died down to a murmur. "Had Walgreens not approached us, we would have put some Band-Aids on it and kept it rolling pretty much."
The new Sausage Deli boasts seating for 60 inside and another 40 outside; the original restaurant seats 17 inside and 40 on the patio.
But Fanelli said there will be something familiar in the new space. He plans to repurpose much of the decorations to re-create the ambience customers have grown accustomed to.
The menu - with one minor deletion of an item that sold poorly - will remain unchanged. You will still be able to order the hot Omar, with Swiss cheese oozing over a thick pile of salami and turkey slicked with mustard and Italian dressing with pepperoncini peppers for kick; or the healthful Susie Sorority turkey with Havarti cheese sub with a tangle of sprouts and fresh tomato.
"We would be a fool to take something that's been around 35 years and change it over there," said the 46-year-old father of two. "There is not but one menu item that will not be on that menu. Everything will be on there, plus we will expand some grilled and fried items in the future."
Prices also will remain mostly unchanged, although Fanelli said there might be slight increases in some sandwiches to keep up with increased food costs.
"It's a bigger version. The workspace area where we make the sandwiches is pretty much the same. We were able to get a newer, more efficient building. … It was a win-win," he said.
Sausage Deli Moving day
Sausage Deli will serve its final sandwiches today in its home of 35 years at 2334 N. First Ave. It's open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beginning Monday, the restaurant will be open at its new, bigger digs across the street at 754 E. Grant Road. Hours will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.