Salvador Deli GONE FROM US.

Sidestreet Café (formally Salvador Deli) burned down early this morning at between 3 and 4am witnesses reported.

I was meeting a client at the gallery this morning at about 10:30am and as I came through the alley I was shocked to see the gutted, burned out shell of our neighborhood deli before me. I had planned to enjoy a nice breakfast there after concluding my gallery business.

As some of you may know, the gallery’s landlord owned the deli until about 10 days when he sold the restaurant to a young restaureteur. I met her this morning as we stood in the street staring in disbelief at this sudden change of fortune.

I for one am bitterly disappointed and saddened by this, primarily for this poor woman who just bought the space and (I presume) had many dreams and goals set for its improvement and development. She was sobbing there and I felt awful for her. I didn’t know her well enough, but I wanted to give her a hug. I know what it’s like to have the dream of your own business and I can only imagine what it would have been like had we just started to open the gallery only to have it burn down. It’s heartbreaking and my own heart really went out to her.

Secondly I had become good friends with several of the employees at the deli and they are now out of a very close, enjoyable job. Most of them live right here in Hamtramck. My friend Katie had taken on a larger role at the deli and was doing a fantastic job. Nicole, Alana, Amber, and Noah (though I think he recently quit) are all very nice people that I will miss seeing in there. I hope they will find work soon and that I will still see them from time to time.

Lastly I’m truly saddened for Hamtramck and our little corner of downtown. Progress is slow in the H these days and my dreams of a fun, vibrant, walkable downtown with shops, cafes (like the deli), galleries and such has suffered a setback today. In terms of the gallery’s neighbors, the deli was the most likely to yield walk-in traffic for us and vice versa. Now that relationship is gone. The true impact on us will be light so I am by no means suggesting this is a turning point for the gallery. It is however a real delay in the development of central Hamtramck as cool little place to eat or shop.

I am happy that I ate in there yesterday and shared some community with local photographer Rachel Holland and her man, Mark. I can at least take some comfort in having had one last hurrah in the deli and enjoyed its unique and spunky atmosphere with friends one last time before it passed. I had a turkey sandwich and Noah made it.

So long Sidestreet Cafe/Salvador Deli. You were gone too soon.

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