Owner Paul Abdalla opened the restaurant in April 2010 in a former gift shop at Penn Avenue and Spruce Street. The deli offers a casual dining atmosphere for patrons and a menu that includes custom salads, homemade soups, a variety of breakfast options and other comfort food staples.
Chef’s Table recently chatted with general manager Denise Leppo about the popular downtown restaurant.
Q: What is the history of the restaurant?
A: We opened in the former Mercantile building, which housed the Helen Schwartz Gift store, which was in operation for more than 50 years in downtown Scranton. We wanted to give the community a space that can fill the void of a Scranton staple that people would pass on their daily commute. Over the past nine years, we were able to create a casual dining atmosphere that would make the downtown business district, families and students feel comfortable and to offer a menu for everyone to enjoy.
Q: What type of food do you serve?
A: Classic American deli cuisine — we serve breakfast and lunch items all day, every day. Our breakfast items range from your typical egg dishes to Heuvos Rancheros, breakfast bowls, New York strip and eggs, and lox platters. We make a variety of homemade soups daily; half-pound, certified Angus beef, hand-formed burgers; a wide variety of Boar’s Head meats and cheeses; and our famous create-your-own salads with over 45 items to build your own salad with, just to name a few. On the weekends, you can find specials such as Avocado Toast with Smoked Salmon, Eggs Benedict and a wide range of artisan Belgian waffles, pancakes and French toast that can satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.
Q: What’s your specialty?
A: As cliche as it may sound, everything. We strive to make sure every item we serve is the freshest and the best-quality ingredients we can source for our loyal customers, from a simple egg sandwich, freshly made muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies and rice pudding to our homemade, slow-roasted beef and fresh veggies and fruit. If it’s not perfect, we don’t serve it.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: Not only did we want to create a casual but lively atmosphere for the community to enjoy, we wanted our menu to reflect the vision of the restaurant. Traditional with a twist. Whether you come with your child or your grandmother, everyone will find their favorite (or soon to be) item on the menu. We wanted to make sure when you walk in our doors, we can offer you what you are looking for.
Q: What are your most popular dishes and drinks?
A: Our chefs really put a lot of thought into our weekend breakfast specials. During the week, our custom salads are the biggest hit along with our fresh soups and piled-high sandwiches. People buy our macaroni salad by the pound. I think people really enjoy the deli because it brings them back to a time of simplicity paired with quality. We also carry Counterpart Kombucha fermented in Dallas and Black & Brass Coffee Roasting Co. drip and cold-brewed coffee roasted in Honesdale.
Q: What type of seating do you have?
A: We wanted to recreate the retro feel of a deli from times past. There is a stainless counter at the front of our restaurant along with booths to fit bigger parties and tables throughout the restaurant. We can hold 80 to 100 patrons at one time and are aware of the time constraints of the downtown business district. Whether you want to sit and sip a cup of our locally roasted coffee with friends or get back to the office in a hurry, we can accommodate your party.
Q: What kinds of specials do you offer?
A: Outdoor seating is offered during the warmer months, (with) fur babies of all kinds welcomed. Daily lunch specials are available Monday through Friday and posted on our Facebook page and Instagram, along with our breakfast specials on the weekends. We offer free delivery within the downtown business district. We also offer online ordering through our website, . There is a 10% discount for all students, military and emergency responders.
Downtown Deli & Eatery
Address: 300 Spruce St., Scranton
Established: April 2010
Owner: Paul Abdalla
Cuisine: Classic American breakfast and lunch
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Online: Visit the deli’s Facebook and Instagram pages and downtowndeliandeatery.com
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. Additionally, Laura curates events online and copy edits print editions of the Life&Times and Weekend Times sections of the newspaper. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5228; @laurarysz