This makes it a dual celebration from March 15 through March 30 as Jenkins Deli celebrates its 38th Birthday and the official grand opening of its new location.
The 15-day birthday party will be highlighted by menu specials, music on the patio, gift giveaways and much more as the entire Spring Creek Town Center joins in the celebration.
On March 15, from noon to 2 p.m., My Mix 104.1 Radio will be “live” on the Jenkins Deli patio with giveaways, music, and interviews with owners, employees, customers and more.
Station owner Steve Hartline will head the list of radio celebrities joining in for the birthday celebration.
Over the last 38 years, Jenkins Deli in Cleveland, has been voted as one of the best restaurants in Cleveland and has earned a reputation in East Tennessee.
Recognized by publications such as “National Geographic,” “Southern Living” and many local and regional publications, it has been lauded for outstanding cuisine, service and hospitality and community involvement.
A few months ago, the restaurant moved into its new home in Spring Creek, a lifestyle development just off 25th Street/APD 40. The new home kept all the hometown flavor as it incorporated all its memorabilia from years past as part of the new décor.
Now Jenkins Deli has the same hometown appeal, the same great food, but bigger facilities, larger kitchen, more parking, additional dining space, private meeting room, outdoor seating and expanded menu.
Inside Jenkins Deli’s new home you will find memories and history spanning nearly half a century. You will find old and new. You will see faces or signatures of old friends and reminders of yesteryear.
“It’s what our customers have been asking us to do for years – and we were limited by space,” said owner Kay Jenkins Cowan.
She and husband Don consulted with employees, customers and experts before they embarked on the design of the new Jenkins Deli.
And the results are amazing. They met all the criteria and more. A fresh salad bar was added, more convenient pick up area, expanded parking, a meeting room and outdoor dining.
“Our customers and community partners are our best advertising,” said Cowan, “and we wanted our customers and employees to have input into our new location. They are family and we wanted it to reflect what they wanted to see us do to better our location, facility and service. “
The new Jenkins Deli was built “with much love and for our future generations,” said Kay Jenkins Cowan. “We have gone high tech to expedite service and convenience and we want this place to continue to be the place for good food, good times and lasting memories.”
Good old-fashion American-style cooking, family atmosphere, a dining experience and a fun place to be – it’s all wrapped up in the new Jenkins Deli at Spring Creek.
The family atmosphere is enhanced by all the familiar faces that have been part of the Jenkins Deli “family” for many years.
David Jenkins has been alongside his mother Kay through the years and is one of the management team members and familiar faces that customers often look for when they visit the restaurant.
David’s winning personality is apparent when he greets customers who enter the doors. He’s part of what keeps the friendly, family environment strong at Jenkins Deli.
The Jenkins Deli at Spring Creek has all the Jenkins charm along with some added features:
An outdoor patio complete with fireplace and big screen TV has been added to the Jenkins Deli experience. And it’s already being used during warm, breezy days. As weather begins to warm up, live music will be offered.
In addition to an expanded menu, Jenkins also has opened its doors seven days a week, offering Sunday lunch and dinner.
A retail/collectibles gift shop is also in the new facility complete with Jenkins Deli coffee mugs, T-shirts, keepsakes and even candies available to visitors.
A special feature inside is a large “G” gauge train that travels above the dining rooms and appeals to young and old alike.
Many young customers have transformed into railroad engineers as they are given a chance to start and stop the train, via a big red button at the front entrance.
One train car even has a digital message on one of its box cars, traveling along a custom-made railroad track created by David Bennett of Train Installations, LLC of Woodstock, Ga.
It’s a great addition to the family environment that is so much a part of the Jenkins Deli history.
The food hasn’t changed. The all-time favorites are still on the menu – the famous chicken salad, the French dip, buffalo burger, and specialty soups, with the addition of steaks and seafood. The fresh salad bar adds a much requested feature, making it a varied and complete All American menu with something for everyone.
There are memories tucked in every corner of the new Jenkins Deli.
Kay and Don pulled from their vast collection of memorabilia and they sought advice and council from local historians to make it complete.
Let’s take a tour of the new Jenkins Deli:
As you enter the restaurant, you can see the hometown “feel” immediately with the local photos, celebrity pictures, newspaper articles, old memories, history and much more.
Murals along the entire complex were creations of designers Jason Gibson and Josh Neyman of Advanced Photographic Solutions and include historic photographs Kay and Don collected from area businesses, individuals, family and historians as well.
Thanks to help from Bryan Reed of Cleveland State Community College and Phil Lea, who submitted images, as well as items from private collections of historian Debbie Moore and Gene Harrell, this is a piece of history.
The murals tell the story of Cleveland, Bradley County and the Southeast region beginning at the front door and traveling along the walls into the salad bar, kitchen and dining area.
Cleveland’s “story” in historic downtown Cleveland, the Courthouse bandstand, ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings, ball team photos, great hometown athletes from years gone by they are all here and more.
Gibson and Moore have compiled a detailed historical account to track the various photos and make a lasting keepsake for customers.
With the new location, a full service bar area was added, using remnants of the copper and carved wooden edge, reconstructed from portions of its former location.
Along the edges are names, places, events, carved through the years by customers. On top, sealed for protection, are postcards, photographs, newspaper clippings of people you know. It brings back memories of days gone by and people whose achievements will live on within the interior of the deli.
The bar area is equipped with TVs and the perfect spot for friends to get together, outside the dining rooms, and watch a football game or enjoy a special event together. It’s a traditional gathering place for UT Vol fans who enjoy watching the game with friends.
A booth wall inside the deli was salvaged and is etched with autographs and notes from past customers, preserved from the old restaurant booths.
Kay and Don’s travels and love for antiques is apparent with the tiffany lamps hanging throughout the dining rooms. Also worked into the architectural design is a beautiful wooden door with stained-glass art, another Kay and Don “find” at an antique store. The door provides an entrance piece into the new private dining room. This room is perfect for a small gathering of about 10-50 guests.
Much has changed in those 38 years of operation, but what has remained is the family atmosphere, the good quality food and the commitment of the Jenkins Deli ownership to be a part of the community.
They have provided jobs for thousands and thousands of young people through the years and many of those past employees have special memories that last a lifetime.
“One of the greatest joys I have,” said Kay Jenkins Cowan, “is seeing former employees come back to dine with us bringing family, friends and co-workers. Some have moved from Cleveland, but on their return visits, they put Jenkins Deli on their agenda to visit and dine with us. So many employees have walked through our doors in the past 38 years and we take pride in their accomplishments and delight in seeing their families when they visit. They become family … and it is ever so rewarding.”
During the official “Grand Opening and 38th Birthday Celebration” spanning from March 15 through 30, the restaurant will have specials on the menu, prize giveaways, music, fun and more.
Good food, good times, lasting memories — Jenkins Deli celebrates 38 years and a brand new “home” for future generations!