By LOIS KINDLE
Lee Salway and his wife, Samantha, want their new business, The Crafty Deli & Package Goods, to be the “Cheers” of sandwich shops and delis.
Like the TV series bar, the new establishment’s owners want to know everyone’s name and what they like to order, while serving them in a welcoming, casual atmosphere. There’s free Wi-Fi and free refills on fountain drinks. Customers can actually get to know the owners.
Twice daily, Salway, 38, walks around handing out samples of meats and cheese.
“What sets us apart is our personalized service,” said Samantha, 35. “This is Lee’s passion. He truly loves to feed people, and he’s really good at what he does.”
The Crafty Deli & Package Goods, 118 Flamingo Drive, Apollo Beach, softly opened Jan. 31 for the sandwich side of the business and will celebrate its grand opening, including the deli and Italian market, April 17. The market side will feature specialty items, fresh olives, freshy sliced meats and cheeses by the pound, scoopable salads and more.
Specializing in fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, wraps and salads, buratta cheese balls, mozzarella balls, olives and more, The Crafty Deli’s menu offers 15 different specialty sandwiches ranging in price from $11.99 to $16.99 and served with a dill pickle spear and bag of chips. Caramelized onion balsamic jam or uncured bacon jam is $1 extra.
The eatery also offers assorted sides, including tri-colored pasta salad, roasted red peppers with olive oil, mozzarella cheese balls and more, plus Italian wedding and broccoli & cheese soups. There’s a choice of four delicious salads, plus four (plain or spinach) wraps served with a pickle and chips.
For only $10, you can build your own sandwich or wrap, which includes your choice of bread or wrap; one meat, one cheese, unlimited toppings and choice of condiments.
Everything is available for dining in or takeout. The eatery comfortably seats 44.
And speaking of takeout, The Crafty Deli offers Take Me Fishing Sandwiches prepared dry with all toppings and condiments packaged separately, so they can be assembled when you’re ready to eat them.
There are four sandwich combos, and all come with chips and a 20-oz. soda. Everything is wrapped and placed in a two-gallon Ziploc freezer bag to be placed in your cooler. The cost is $16.99. Orders of more than two sandwiches must be called in at least two hours in advance.
And there’s a bonus. While you’re out on the water, take a photo of you, your sandwich and the prize fish you caught, post it to The Craft Deli Facebook or Instagram page, and the Salways will do your bragging for you!
All sandwiches are made with Italian Bread from Giovanni’s Bakery in Largo and feature Boar’s Head meats and cheeses. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available, as are custom foods addressing people’s allergies. Sub trays are also available.
On Wednesdays, seniors get their choice of three specials: 10% off any regular-priced menu item; half of a sandwich and soup for $8; or a sharable combo that features a sandwich cut in half, two bags of chips, two pickle spears and two drinks.
Teachers, first responders and veterans receive a 10% discount daily.
The Crafty Deli is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. All major credit cards are accepted.
For more information, call 813-938-1285.
About the owners
The Salways are from Atlantic, N.J., where they both grew up in the service industry.
Samantha’s family still owns and operates an Italian deli and restaurant in Margate, and Lee’s family formerly owned a bar and restaurant.
They moved to Clearwater 10 years ago to start their own business, but “ life happened, and here we are,” Samantha said. “We moved to Apollo Beach three years ago. It reminded us of where we lived in New Jersey.
“We wanted our sandwich shop, Italian market and deli to bring a snapshot of how we grew up and what we ate to Apollo Beach,” she said. “Many customers tell us our sandwiches bring them back to when they lived up north.”
The Crafty Deli & Package Goods is a veteran-owned business. Samantha served in the Army from 2005 to 2013, including a full tour in Afghanistan.
The couple have two children, Penelope, 7, and Cooper, 2.