DeLeo’s in a Short Time Has Become Big Part of North County Scene
By Tom Anselm
When Jake Hall went on vacation to Colorado with his best friends and all their families a few years ago, little did they know that they would be embarking on their future.
“We went to Estes Park and found this place in Fall River called DeLeo’s Café. Loved the food so much that we ate there everyday for the ten days we were out there,” said Hall. From there, he and his partner/friends decided to replicate the concept and brand in their hometown of Florissant. Jake, a 2001 graduate of Hazelwood Central, says it has been quite a ride.
“I have over ten years of experience with foods from Panera Bread and other restaurants. I can do the food end of it. But we have learned so much of the business side, and without our partners, we could not have made it,” Hall said. “We bit off a big bite to start and went all in from the beginning, but it is paying off with great support from the area’s residents.”
It took them over a year and a half to negotiate for the brand and develop the former pizza site to their unique specifications. DeLeo’s has expanded the original menu developed by Tom DeLeo in Colorado to include breakfasts, a greater variety of sandwiches and specials, beer and wines. They added the unique aspect of featuring Florissant artist’s work on their walls. Free live music, to be offered every Friday and Saturday starting in March, has been another innovation.
“We want to be part of the community. We feature beers from Urban Chestnut Company, breads from Vitale’s and also the Cornerstone Bakery just up the street. Just recently we arranged a school fundraiser with the Hazelwood Central senior class, and this is something that we want to see grow” added Hall.
They have supported local events like the St. Norbert’s Fall Soccer Classic tournament, which brings people from all over the St. Louis and St. Charles areas, and the annual golf tournament of the Greater North County Chamber of Commerce.
“We are the only DeLeo’s in the nation now, with the originator retiring, but we have a two-year business plan that includes expansion. Our rights include Kansas, Missouri and Illinois,” Hall noted.
For now, however, DeLeo’s is planning to expand their patio, relocate their sign for better visibility along Lindbergh, and continue to provide, as Jake Hall puts it, “award-winning sandwiches.”
Their First Anniversary celebration will be from Feb. 19-24. They are located at 2782 North Highway 67 (Lindbergh). (see ad on Dining Out page 6) You can find them at DeLeosDeli.com or on Facebook.
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