Concert promoter turned restaurateur Sean O’Brien is one of the minds behind the upcoming Cass Street Deli. The neighborhood sandwich shop will feature a simple menu with a pastrami sandwich paying homage to New York’s Katz Delicatessen, a signature Reuben sandwich, corned beef sandwich, smoked turkey sandwich, hot dogs, sauerkraut made in-house, and more.
The motivation for opening Cass Street Deli comes from O’Brien’s own desire to have a traditional New York deli in Tampa. O’Brien spent years looking for the right location and seeking investors, but after visiting the Tampa Bay Jewish Food Festival, O’Brien hit the tipping point and decided he wanted to bring his dream to reality.
Like many restaurateurs, O’Brien hopes to share his own personal food cravings with others and hopes Cass Street Deli can be a home for Northerners looking for a piece of home in Tampa.
So far, the response has been quite positive with lines wrapping around the initial pop-up for Cass Street Deli at Nebraska Mini-Mart on Mondays in Seminole Heights. Chefs Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez have a history with O’Brien and helped him get his first location at their neighborhood market.
O’Brien brought on Suzanne Crouch from Ella’s to help him create his first food business. He also has Eddie Shumard, a former sous-chef from The Refinery, on-board as a partner for the deli.
Cass Street Deli will incorporate local elements of Tampa with homemade recipes from O’Brien’s Jewish mother.
Some local food brands that will be spread into the mix including Jamison B. Breadhouse Bakes, Tambuzzo Sausage Company, and Blind Tiger Coffee. Bagels will be served and sourced from Bella’s on St. Pete Beach. When not able to source locally, O’Brien wants to go to the source in New York.
The menu at Cass Street Deli will incorporate 4 hot sandwiches and 4 cold sandwiches as well as latkes, beet salad, cucumber salad. Look out for their matzo ball soup as well. The philosophy is to keep the menu simple, but focus on the quality of key menu items.
Cass Street Deli will be a fairly small shop with 10 seats for customers and O’Brien wants to push a to-go concept and catering for offices in nearby Downtown Tampa and South Tampa. The shop will also have a market which will sell house-made meat cuts, mustard, and bread for sale by the pound.
Cass Street Deli initially planned to open on National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day on January 14th, but like most restaurateurs, O’Brien has learned it’s safe to assume your target date is never actually your opening date.
Here’s where you can catch Cass Street Deli next until their opening:
- Sunday, February 3rd – Brunch at Anise Global Gastrobar – Chocolate Babka French toast with Chantilly cream, “Pastramlet”, a pastrami and swiss omelette topped with a spicy mustard Hollandaise, and a basket of latkes from 11AM-3PM.
- Saturday, February 9th – Blind Tiger Cafe SoHo – In celebration of national bagels cream cheese and lox today, Cass Street Deli will be bagels with cream cheese and lox from 8AM-12PM.
- Tuesday, February 19th – Crowbar – Cass Street Deli will be featured for
Beer Garden Sessions with New Belgium Brewing and be serving Matzo Ball Soup along with 2 other menu items that are still to be announced.
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