The beloved local business Saints Rest Coffee House will now have a partner in crime. Taking up the former Back Alley Café, the 1854 Deli opened this past Monday, Nov. 9.
The 1854 Deli will be serving delicious homemade lunches from a small location in the back of the coffeehouse.
The deli began its return by advertising on Facebook and posing questions to the public about what the people wanted to see the menu. Responses were ardent.
“People are really passionate about soup so we got a lot of good response on our soup,” said manager and delicatessen aficionado Jarrod Diehm.
According to Diehm, the 1854 Deli will feature Oasis brand hummus, which has been a major point of excitement amongst potential customers. Previously, Grinnell’s hummus enthusiasts would have to travel as far as Iowa City to get their hands on Oasis’ spread.
Along with the hummus and soups, sandwiches are expected to be a major selling point for the 1854 Deli. After one day of business, Diehm said that the “Free Range” was the most popular item sold.
The “Free Range” is described as their “own homemade, hand-shredded chicken, mixed with halved green grapes and our own blend of special ingredients,” according to the menu. The sandwich is available at the deli for $7.25.
Diehm also expects “The CC,” a peanut butter and honey concoction, to be an extremely popular item. “The CC” is available for $5.25.
While Diehm admitted that there is some competition in the sandwich market in Grinnell, specifically from Jimmy Johns and Subway, he does not see this as a potential roadblock for business.
“Subway, it’s all about customization. We’re not going to do what Subway does. Jimmy Johns, they’ve got the same menu they’ve had for years. They’re not going to be able to say they have homemade chicken salad or their in-house Maytag Blue Cheese and creamy vinaigrette,” Diehm said.
Sam Cox, owner of Saints Rest, sees the opening of the deli as a potential boon to her business.
“We are truly hoping that when [1854 Deli] opens, and it becomes as successful as we think it will be, that I am going to get extra traffic from that, whether its sitting and buying coffee from me or buying a dessert from me. That’s the goal,” Cox said.
The excitement for the working relationship is reciprocated.
“Sam is a really awesome lady, so as long as we keep up our end and do a really good job being respectful neighbors, I think we’re going to be very good for each other,” Diehm said.
Aside from a potential boost to her business, Cox sees ways that the opening of the Deli could be great for downtown as a whole.
“Walking traffic, pedestrian traffic, I think that’s always a plus for downtown. So if [Deli 1854] helps create that, then fantastic.”