Landmark deli weathers the economy |
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Store fronts and signs in downtown Spokane have changed over the years but one constant has remained the same for nearly 50 years. Domini Sandwiches opened at 703 W. Sprague in 1963 and has been a lunchtime mainstay ever since.
"It's modeled after the Jewish delis in New York," said Joe Domini, sitting with his brother Tom.
That means you are only going to find sandwiches made of meat, cheese and bread.
"Some of those Jewish delis don't even offer cheese," said Joe.
When you walk through the glass doors of the deli your senses are assaulted with the smell of meat being sliced, fresh bread and popcorn.
At 9 a.m. it's bustling with activity but the slumping economy has taken its toll.
"It's not the hustle and bustle like it used to be," said Tom. "The lunch business has slowed down because that's where people can cut down."
Like other businesses, Domini's has had to deal with the rising cost of just about everything, from the cost of popcorn to the cost of meat and cheese.
"We use the best of the best," said Tom.
The bread that Domini's uses is baked fresh daily at Spokane's Alpine Bakery.
"It's a recipe that goes from baker to baker," said Tom.
It's that dedication to quality that has customers coming back, time and time again and making it a family tradition.
"We have 2nd and 3rd generations of families," said Joe.
For years the deli offered two sizes of sandwiches, Small and Whole. The rising cost of ingredients has pushed sandwich prices up, so the deli has adjusted its menu.
"Every time your price goes up, it cuts out some of your customers," said Tom. "So we've add a tiny sandwich."
But don't let the name fool you. It will take care of your appetite.
Domini's has also joined Facebook and has a website with its menu. Although the lunch crowds have dwindled, the brothers look forward to celebrating 50 years of business and being part of Spokane's legacy.
While Joe is approaching retirement age, Tom has no plans to slow down.
"In the old days, Spokane was a bunch of family owned business," said Joe.
"There's not too many of those around anymore," Tom added.
And that's something else Domini's offers that franchise sandwich shops can not; family. The people who walk by the shop everyday change, but inside, they remain the same.
Patty Santos-Cucalon has served up sandwiches for 36 years. The names of many customers stay with her and it's like seeing an old friend when they walk in.
"The clientele has been great to us," said Tom.