HYDE PARK — When retired physician David Lubin told his accountant he was buying a delicatessen, the man didn’t ask when or which, but why.
“You’re comfortable, you have enough money, why?” Lubin recounts.
His wife Elke was more supportive.
“I told him it’s going to be a lot of work,” she said, adding that he jumped in with both feet and he loves it. “When he retired two years ago, he went from happy, to bored. Now he is happy again.”
According to Lubin, what he likes most about his business, Hyde Park’s Swann Avenue Market & Deli, is the people. He even found a silver lining after a “smash and grab” break-in took place a few hours before he signed his lease.
“Maybe it’s good luck, like the Jewish custom to break a glass at a wedding. This was breaking a window,” quipped the man known for his sense of humor.
The entrepreneurship started when a Southern Wine & Distributor rep — and Lubin’s former patient — alerted him that the deli was for sale and had potential.
Lubin liked inheriting executive chef/manager Michael Swords and his strong staff.
“Chef Mike used to work at Bern’s and Irish 31 and we have some of the best sandwiches in town, along with super prices on fine wines, and a great selection of craft beers,” he said.
The two will develop an organic garden, will add and operate a Saturday produce market and will expand the breakfast menu at the cozy, four-table deli.
“When Dr. Lubin came onboard, he really elevated the place. He’s pushing the envelope,” said Swords, who mentioned the resurfaced parking lot and the deli’s fresh coat of paint as just two of the added amenities.
Swords added that he is looking forward to gardening spring mix, arugula and heirloom tomatoes.
“We can (produce) and teach students that food does not have to come from a supermarket,” he added.
He believes that growing your own food is actually very easy.
Potential customers met David and Elke Lubin and Swords during the recent Old Hyde Park Home Tour, where they handed out samples of their beverages, breads, Cuban sandwiches and other favorites. Swords talked about his fresh tuna salads and his caprese sandwiches, as well as his fresh mozzarella, ham and cheese toasted brioche croque, served with a gruyere cheese dipping sauce.
Hyde Park’s Swann Ave. Market & Deli, is located at 1021 W. Swann Ave. For information, call (813) 251-5000 or visit www.swannave.com.