Front Street Deli, a downtown fixture since 1976, closed after owner Lee Busby's death in March. The business is being reopened by Lance Silkes of Tastin' Round Town Tours.
According to Silkes, Larry Busby, Lee's brother, had inherited the business, but he had recently sold his Front Street Deli location on Winchester and was under a no-compete clause. Silkes says they held off on making an announcement, wanting to make sure they could get the old restaurant up-to-code and operational.
Silkes says Front Street Deli fits in perfectly with what he's been doing with Tastin' Round Town, a tour of area restaurants, offering tourists and Memphians alike a taste of some of the city's best fare and a good dose of the city's history.
"In 1976, when pretty much everybody was leaving downtown, [the Busbys] ran in," says Silkes, crediting the deli with helping kickstart downtown's resurgence. "Letting it go seemed like a bad idea."
Silkes says loyal customers will recognize the menu — the tuna salad, the deviled eggs, etc. And, he says he will be adding new items. Under consideration are a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and peppers and onions with sausages.
He plans to keep the same hours, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (He'll also continue to run Tastin' Round Town.)
Silkes hopes to have Front Street Deli up and running in the next few weeks.