After nearly 35 years at 2334 N. First Ave., the Sausage Deli is turning the corner.

The little sub and sandwich shop, which has become a Tucson institution since it was established in 1978, will move a few yards to the north, facing Grant Road.

Walgreens wanted the corner, prompting discussions for a way to keep the Sausage Deli nearby, deli owner Chris Fanelli said.

"I feel like we've done everything we could to make our surrounding neighborhood happy with this," he said.

The new deli will go where Los Betos stood, and at 2,200 square feet will be larger than the original, which was a cozy 1,400 square feet. Customers will still be able to reach it from both First Avenue and Grant Road.

Fanelli, whose family bought the Sausage Deli in 2003, said Tuesday that demolition on the surrounding property had already started - the Shell station was torn down last week, and the Los Betos east of the deli was being demolished as he spoke.

The Sausage Deli will remain open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays while the new deli is under construction. Fanelli hopes to open the new deli by Jan. 3.

That will give devotees one last homecoming - the deli has a substantial UA following - to pack into the original spot to order favorites such as the Italian Grinder, Susie Sorority and the Omar.

Fanelli said he's putting a lot of thought into ways to incorporate touches from the old brick building into the new space. The jukebox is definitely making the move, he said.

Fanelli said he and his father, Joseph, custom-designed the new deli to include booth seating, more seats on the patio, more TV's and a bar area. In addition to serving up the Sausage Deli classics, the deli will offer draft beer and stay open later.

The Sausage Deli's name is a holdover from the days when the First Avenue building was more of a butcher shop. Steve Kleinsmith, the deli's original owner, bought it in 1978 and started stressing the Italian Grinder.

Fanelli encouraged patrons to keep up with the construction status and specials by following the deli on twitter @SausageDeli, online at and

Inger Sandal