Craig Dice calls it a leap of faith.
After 13 years selling medical devices, the former Manayunk resident and his girlfriend, Rebecca Goldstein, set their sights on a vacant storefront on the west end of Manayunk’s Main Street.
“For years, I’ve always felt that Manayunk could use a place that had good sandwiches and specialty breakfast all day,” Dice said. “So, I had my eye on this location and thought. ‘Maybe I’ll have a little humble deli where I could accomplish what was lacking.'”
After mulling it for about a year, Dice and Goldstein, who was working in pharmaceutical sales at the time, decided that the Manayunk deli dream was something they couldn’t pass up.
“It was a big decision but it happened so naturally,” Goldstein said. “It was the right spot at the right time. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to be able to do this together.”
Dice’s Deli and Catering, at 4460 Main St., officially opened in December. The shop offers sandwich classics such as the Black Russian and Great Italian Hero as well as specialty salads, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, muffins and Goldstein’s homemade baked goods. There’s even a sandwich that pays homage to Dice’s favorite bar in New Jersey. All of the bread is provided by Conshohocken Bakery.
So, how do two people in sales make the transition to the food industry? Easily, Dice says.
“Food was always in my blood,” the New Jersey native explained. “I was working at my family’s deli in Manasquan, two blocks from the beach, since I was about 14.”
“Even though I haven’t worked a slicer in about 15 years, as soon as we opened, I was right back to it,” he added. “It’s like riding a bike.”
And for Goldstein, this gig doesn’t seem all that different from her role in pharmaceutical sales:
“Before, I was the rep who catered to the doctors, always bringing food all the time and I almost feel like I’m still in the role of a sales person marketing to people, but this is my business now. It’s just marketing for a different type of thing, with a much more warm welcome.”
Right now, Dice and Goldstein are the only ones running the shop, which proves challenging at times, especially since they’re open seven days a week.
“It’s a lot of juggling,” Goldstein said. “When we are jam packed, it’s stressful because [Craig’s] cooking 15 to 20 sandwiches in the back while I’m trying to entertain customers and remember everyone’s name; that’s always been very valuable to me.”
Despite unpredictable walk-in traffic, the couple says business has been good.
“Our breakfast is huge on the weekends,” Dice said. “[Two Saturdays ago] it was standing room only, every chair and table was taken.”
And, of course, with New Year’s resolutions still lingering in people’s minds, Dice says they’re selling a lot more salads than they did in December.
Looking to the future, Goldstein says she hopes they can increase the amount of catering jobs they take on. Right now, they have one steady catering job a week. At this time next year, she hopes they’ll be balancing three catering jobs a day on top of consistent walk-in business.
Dice’s Deli and Catering is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.