Food Service & Agriculture and Retail

Deli slices more of downtown

October 15, 2013
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Deli slices more of downtown
Customers can shop or sit down to eat at Rico’s Deli in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy Rico’s Deli

A longtime Grand Rapids deli has expanded its presence downtown by 600 percent.

Rico’s Deli has operated in various forms downtown since 1995 and re-opened last month in the city’s Monroe North neighborhood, at 820 Monroe Ave. NW.

Richard “Rico” Nelson, the deli’s owner, spent about $30,000 and three months of hard work remodeling the space, said Tracie Lang, a Rico’s spokesperson.

Nelson did much of the remodeling work.

More space

Rico’s Deli had been in the neighborhood for about seven years in a 500-square-foot space at the Boardwalk Building.

Nelson moved, because he needed more room. The new sit-down deli is in a 3,000-square-foot space.

Rico’s has five employees, and it plans to add more employees, as it adds delivery service.

Nelson, a Grand Rapids native, said he’s committed to being part of the Grand Rapids community, buying local produce for his supplies and signing his space up as an Art Prize venue for next year.

The menu

Rico’s sells a full deli-style menu: wraps, subs, sandwiches, soups, boxed lunches, a mini-grocery section, as well as a café menu — with a coffee bar coming in the next couple of months — and a salad bar coming next spring.

Rico’s Deli offers free Wi-Fi and couches for customers.

“There are a lot of professionals in this area who need someplace comfortable to be able to come in, sit down, get some work done — get a good lunch,” Lang said.

Gluten

The newly relocated deli also sells a menu of gluten-free items that's attracted lunchtime diners and shoppers: breads, rolls, buns, muffins, pies and cakes.

“I’ve literally seen people jumping up in the air, doing a happy dance,” said Lang, of the deli’s gluten-free items.

“We really try to stick to real food, nothing that’s been processed to death, things that your body actually recognizes,” Lang said. “Part of the reason I think people have Gluten issues is because there’s so much food out there that’s been hyper processed. And what this does is it brings people back to basics and lets them eat things that they miss, because they’re on a strict diet now.” 


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