New restaurant dishing up delicacies

Esther Noe
Anyone craving a triple-decker sandwich, house made egg salad or fresh vanilla bean cheesecake can now head to the Downtown Deli & Bakery (DDB), located in the former home of the Black Hills Bistro on Hill City Main Street. It is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Nine years ago, Linda Pini owned and operated Linda’s Deli by First Interstate Bank. 
“I was pretty popular for Linda’s Deli,” said Pini. However, due to lease issues the deli closed, and Pini worked at Krull’s Market and at Three Forks as a cook. 
In January, “My friend Staci (Riley) and my friend Janice (Elkind) decided to get into this business here and hired me,” said Pini. 
Riley was a professional baker, has owned other businesses and her family has restaurants in California. 
“I’ve had many people tell me I should open a restaurant because I like to cook so much, and I was cooking and giving it away. I kept saying, ‘No, I don’t want to make it a job,’ but now that I’m doing it, it’s like, ‘That was stupid because now I get to do what I love to do, and I get to make money on it,’” said Riley. 
They found out the building was up for lease, and Pini said, “We just jumped in and did it.” 
Riley is the owner and a part-time baker, Pini is the manager and head cook and Pini’s husband Rick is the prep cook, dishwasher and handyman. 
“He does a lot for us. Anything and everything, he’s been there, and he’s been awesome to have,” said Riley. 
Meanwhile, Elkind, owner of the Alpaca Store, has since left the endeavor to focus on her other businesses. 
After purchasing kitchen equipment and doing some redecorating, they created a casual, relaxed vintage atmosphere at the DDB with music from the 1960s to ’70s and old-school signs on the walls. DDB officially opened for business March 12.  
They decided to open a deli because, “That’s what people like, and that’s what people want,” according to Pini. 
“We’ve been doing very well,” said Pini. “I’m real happy to be back into it again, and I have lots of my old customers coming back.” 
 “She’s got a big following in town,” said Riley. 
At the DDB, everything is house made from scratch, and there are breakfast and lunch specials daily. 
For breakfast, Riley makes fresh cinnamon rolls, and her angel biscuits are served with either sausage gravy or chorizo and green chili gravy. The jumbo breakfast burritos include potatoes, eggs, cheese, a choice of meat and green or red salsa, and the breakfast plate comes with two eggs, toast and a choice of meat. There are also breakfast sandwiches, and the child’s breakfast is pancakes and French toast sticks. 
Recently, they made a blueberry French toast casserole with cream cheese and a house made blueberry sauce for a breakfast special. 
“We have people that come in here for breakfast, and three hours later they’re back here for lunch,” said Riley. 
“We have nice big salads for lunch,” said Pini. 
There is a chef salad, a side salad and “The Popeye,” which has spinach, bacon, boiled egg, red onion, house made croutons and house made hot bacon dressing. 
“I’m very popular for my egg salad,” said Pini. “It’s called Eggcellent Egg Salad, and it’s topped with ham.”
Pini makes her own potato salad and chicken salad as well. Another popular option is the foot-long hot dogs. These come plain or as a Chicago dogs, chili cheese dogs and kraut dogs.  There will be soup and chili options in the colder months as well. 
However, Pini said it is the sandwiches that set the restaurant apart. She said, “They’re kind of unique to the area. Not a whole lot of people have a cold deli sandwich on their menu.” 
“One of our popular ones is our OMG Club, previously called Rangers Club,” said Pini. “That’s a triple-decker sandwich.” 
It is made with grilled Texas toast, sliced turkey, ham, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato with mesquite mayo.
“It’s huge,” Riley said. 
“The ‘High on Veg’ is my favorite,” said Riley. It is a veggie wrap with cheddar cheese hummus, cucumbers, avocado, mushrooms, shredded carrots, red onion, sprouts and sunflower seeds wrapped in a warm tortilla with a special sweet savory sauce. 
“Then something different is called ‘Now That’s Southern,’ and it’s just a tomato sandwich—tomatoes, mayonnaise, salt and pepper,” said Pini. 
“We have one guy that comes in here and gets it every time,” said Riley.
Some other popular options are the “Ricky Bobby Special,” tuna melt, Italian wrap, hot pastrami and fried bologna sandwich. They recently started doing burgers, and Riley said, “We also have a smoker now so we’re smoking meats in the back.” 
All of the sandwiches come with a choice of a side or potato chips. 
“We do turn any sandwich into a salad for people who are gluten-free, and I try to be real careful,” said Pini. 
Pini has worked with gluten-free cooking before and said she is careful with cross-contamination and understands the necessary processes. 
When it comes time for dessert, Riley’s five-layer vanilla bean cheesecake made with a graham cracker crust, a vanilla bean cheesecake, white chocolate vanilla bean mousse, fruit topping and whipped cream is a favorite. 
“I was very well known for my cheesecakes when I sold them all over Rapid,” said Riley. 
Riley also makes her grandmother’s carrot cake, banana nut bread, bread pudding and huge peanut butter cookies. She said some people come in just for the cookies. 
Pini said they want the DDB to be known for great food, fast service and a friendly atmosphere. They hope to be busy this summer and are planning to make premade sandwiches for tourists. 
“We’re pretty quick. We tried to make stuff pretty simple so it doesn’t take real long,” said Pini. 
They are also working on getting a beer and wine license, have a new sign on order and are going to set chairs on the porch and have live music this summer. Along with this, they are partnering with HippieRockStar Boutique Wine & Beer Bar for the Hill City Summer Concert Series which will take place June 22, July 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 7.
“We’re just having fun together,” said Pini. 
The DDB does not have a Facebook page yet so they are connecting with the community through the Hill City Happenings page. They take call-in orders and to-go orders by phone at 605-574-4422. 
Pini thanked the community for their support, and said “Please come visit, give us a try and give us your feedback.” 

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