"In 2004, the owner came to me looking to sell the place," Kevin explains. "But I was from a family of 10. I'd worked here for 17 years, since high school. I didn't have the money." As Kevin reminisces, there's deep gratitude in his voice. "So I prayed a little prayer. And you know what? He just gave the place to me instead."
Kevin has now owned the deli for seven years, and he works to show customers that same kindness the past owner lavished upon him. "I'll give a newbie something to try—a piece of cake, sometimes a coke,” he says. “This is more than just work to me. I love to come in here for the people." When not behind the counter, Kevin is prepping food by hand, drawing upon macaroni and coleslaw recipes from the previous owner's mother, house-made sauces, and a powerful memory for food. "I remember people's orders,” he says, “and they remember me. Kindness is not just words. And it's more important to make a friend than to make money."
The deli mirrors this modesty and warmth within Webster Hall, a building that served as a hotel in the 1960s. Kevin says his wife has suggested he paint the building a different color than basic white. "The community won't have it," he says. "And I don't blame them. It's historical. It's simple."