The Downtown Deli and Custard Shoppe at 216 E. First St. combines the expertise of its two owners, Joan Kruse and Ruth Ann Speckhals. During the time they worked at a local factory and car pooled together, each learned that the other was looking to do something different. At one time, Ruth Ann had worked in a deli and Joan in an ice cream shop. Their combined backgrounds were a perfect match, and their business was born on May 1, 1996.
According to the owners, their smoked chicken salad is high on the list of customers' favorites. "People come and get it by the pounds," says Joan. The chicken is smoked out back. Reuben sandwiches are a hit. They are served on fresh-baked pumpernickel bread. In fact, all sandwich breads are fresh-baked. Desserts are homemade, too.
During the winter months, homemade soups are a big seller. In summer, it's the frozen fare that's popular. The Downtown Deli offers six flavors of hard, hand-dipped ice cream, as well as soft custard and yogurt. All are used to create concretes, malts, shakes, banana splits, and sundaes.
Luncheon specials are offered daily, and The Deli has a brisk "To Go" business. Stop by any day of the week starting at 11 a.m. Monday-Saturday and noon on Sunday. Closing time is 9 p.m. Call 573-486-5002 for more information.