Things are progressing well here at the Willy West Deli, due in large part to your questions and comments. Thank you for helping us grow and steering us in the right direction. We’re coming to realize more and more what you are looking for.
Do you know what you’re having for supper tonight? What did you have for lunch yesterday or the day before? Chances are some type of “prepared food” is involved in the equation.
The area known in stores as “the deli‚” or “prepared foods‚” has changed pretty drastically in the last five years. Whether it be the expectations of our shoppers or our desire to accommodate your lifestyles, we are seeing changes in trends due in part to lack of time and cooking knowledge. The particular areas of impact are our senior population, smaller families, health concerns, the wide array of allergies and food choices.
Our commitment to you, in the Deli has always been to bring you freshly prepared, healthy, and local foods in order to provide convenience. Because of this we need to provide a wider variety of food choices based on the fact that you, the consumer, have a higher awareness and greater expectations of taste, flavor, pricing, food safety and health than ever before. We have the Food Network, greater accessibility to natural products, more sophisticated palates, and food safety awareness, among other factors, to thank for these changes. In many ways we have been ahead of the competition for some time just based on our way of doing business and the care and quality we put into everything we have to offer.
There has been a change in the focus of what people want in their Deli—yes, the traditional meats, cheeses and salad/side dishes are still important, but even more focus is being put on prepared foods like compound salads, entrée selections and more exotic side dishes. Baked goods have made a dramatic comeback due to the new food pyramid and more emphasis on the importance of whole grains in our diets. Willy Street Co-op has always focused on the health aspect of natural foods, but now it has to include quick meal planning. The good news is that the variety of unique, healthy and diet-sensitive choices are no longer as hard to find and are becoming more affordable.
As I’ve said, Willy Street Co-op just being Willy Street Co-op is already a plus for you all as we’ve been diligent in our choices, steadfast in our beliefs/standards and always focused on fresh, healthy, local and fair. Moving forward, we are collectively (Willy East, Willy West and our Production Kitchen) working to implement as many new ideas, products and ways to satisfy the growing needs of our shoppers. The information is out there—your comments and suggestions help us determine which direction to take. Please don’t ever stop giving us feedback; we want to be the very best we can for you.
Out West we’ve introduced Tribeca Ovens line of artisan loaves and rolls. They are a small batch bakery using long resting times, all natural ingredients, no trans or saturated fats (excluding the Asiago Cheese Bread), and we carry three varieties that are certified by the Whole Grain Council as having anywhere from 8 to 13 grams of fiber per serving. Our Deli Buyer, Bill Pohlman, was instrumental in getting this off the ground.
We’ve also gotten our “mini” olive bar together—finally! Please keep those comments for a full bar coming in and buy olives so we can get the real deal.
Our choice of olives was the George Delallo Company. They are the largest importer, producer and distributor of cured table olives in the U.S. What sets them apart from others is the relationships they have with their growers. In addition, everything is hand-picked, sorted and graded at one of the two plants they operate. The olives are not pasteurized—they’re fresh and all natural and not brined so they must be refrigerated. We need input on this, folks! There are so many varieties available, and we only have six slots, so let us know what you want to see.
We have re-done our sandwich menu, adding a wider variety of choices, more fresh ingredients and seasonal favorites. We bake Tribeca Ovens breads everyday for sandwiches. The ones we have available are multi-grain, seeded Jewish rye, sourdough and baguettes. There are other bread options but these are the ones baked in-house for you.
The most exciting aspect or change coming to the Willy West Deli is that we’ve brought Paul Tseng, former Sous Chef at our Production Kitchen (more on this to come in May’s Reader), to Willy West to help us better serve your needs. He has many years of experience, originates from Taiwan and is the newest member of our Deli family. His primary focus will be preparing daily specials utilizing our flat top and grill as well as developing in-house cooked items for you to order and for the hot bar as well. We’ll also be developing a better strategy for the dinner crowd—more hot and cold choices made in-house. As the weather continues to get better and our outside patio opens up, we want you to think of Willy West as a destination, not just a deli.