Frank's Deli might just be the prototype for the modern deli. The daily queue outside the newly opened venue in the Sydney suburb of Waverley is already rock-concert long.
Ben Kelly explains he and fellow owners, Sammy Jakubiak and her brother Alek Jakubiak, dreamed of a deli that still slices cheese and smallgoods for customers to order.
"We'll still do it mid-morning or after 2pm," Kelly says. The reason they don't offer it all the time is they are busy making some of the most in-demand sandwiches in the city. Frank's Reuben is its most popular, while the Breakfast Sammy with egg and cheese folded with brisket pastrami and Polish dressing a favourite of Kelly's.
"Sammy and Alek's family are from Warsaw," Kelly says. "They have a deep and proud food tradition in their family ... we wanted the deli to reflect this, so we recreated a meal that I always look forward to when we go to Sammy's family for lunch. It's called the Polish Ploughman's Plate."
Sammy Jakubiak, who will be known to fans of the TV food show MKR, is using her father's recipe for house-cured, hot-smoked salmon. There is also Polish smoked sausage with cured beetroot and horseradish, and a Polish vegetable salad.
Frank's Deli also supports Sydney hospitality with its retail offerings. Cho Cho San chef Max Smith's Jimoto goods are among the products on the shelves.
Kelly says the partners set out to open a venue that would navigate its way around the new world order of lockdowns and shut-downs: "It's our big f--- you to COVID."
Open Mon-Fri 6.30am-3pm; Sat-Sun 7.30am-3pm.
279 Bronte Road, Waverley, franksdeli.com.au