CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Every so often, you find a spot where the food and the atmosphere combine to truly capture the community.
That's the kind of vibe City Deli has been serving up in Chesapeake's Great Bridge area since 1990 and Mike and Krista Barnes were determined to keep it that way when they took over ownership in November of 2019.
"It's a deli, first and foremost," said Krista Barnes.
The Barnes moved to Virginia with their three kids in 2017. The intention was to own a business while spending more time together as a family.
"It kind of all fell into place of what we were looking for. Just a sense of community," said Krista.
And that sense of community was put to the test almost immediately after the Barnes took over City Deli. Just months later, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and dine-in shut down in Virginia for several weeks.
"Couldn't have asked for more from a community," said Mike Barnes. "It's blown us away, the way they've latched onto our family. It's like our family's grown up here."
These days, business at City Deli is outpacing pre-pandemic levels, the Barnes say.
They've kept popular items on the menu, much of which is under $10.
Here, you'll find breakfasts like the Two-Egg Plate and famous sandwiches for lunch like The Reuben, with hot corned beef, melted swiss cheese and sauerkraut, and The Sailor, with hot pastrami and melted swiss cheese.
"We've come out with 'The High-Rise,'" said Mike. "It is a half-pound of premium Boar's Head meat, between the pastrami and the corned beef. It's serious business."
Long-time customers will also notice a new paint job since the pandemic began and a chalk wall with popular menu items.
"We're just chomping at the bit so we can start putting in more tables because that's our biggest hurdle right now is just our waitlists," said Krista.
Until then, the Barnes say they appreciate every customer that comes in, even if it's just to say "hi."
"Thanks to an amazing Great Bridge, Chesapeake community and thanks to an amazing staff," said Mike Barnes.