Cookeville restaurant closing – but not disappearing

Westside Deli is closing to the general public. The business will live on, however, with expanded catering services.
Westside Deli is closing to the general public. The business will live on, however, with expanded catering services.

COOKEVILLE – A West Side eatery known for its New York-style sandwiches is closing its doors for good – but it’s not the end of the road for the business that’s called Cookeville home for the last three and a half years.

Westside Deli & Catering, located on North Cedar Avenue, will open to the general public for the last time on Saturday. But current owner Jay Albrecht, who bought the restaurant from founders Frank and D.D. Mariani in February 2015, said it’ll still live on – as a catering-only outfit with expanded services in that line.

The Deli’s most popular selections, like the Reuben and Italiano, won’t entirely disappear, either. Those and other selections will soon be served at Seven Senses Food & Cheer, another West Side restaurant under Albrecht’s umbrella as part of its regular menu. That transition should take about a week.

“The hardest thing about making this decision is taking a popular eatery away from the West Side district, and our guests,” Albrecht told the UCBJ. “We are all about community, so the impact is not lost on us. However, we believe a greater impact can be realized from our expanded catering services. We look forward to what lies ahead and continuing to serve the Cookeville area in our new capacity.”

Albrecht said Westside Deli catering will offer more than sandwiches and boxed lunches. Options will include a private fine-dining experience, a multi-course plated meal, a full buffet, or a sandwich tray, all prepared under the leadership of professional chef Chad Combs, who joined Albrecht’s team last year and who has 20 years’ experience in the industry – and recently earned the title of World Chef Challenge champion at November’s World Food Championships, an international cooking competition.

“We now have the capability to offer full-service catering solutions to groups of up to 300 people and can handle even larger events depending on individual needs,” Albrecht added.

As for the North Cedar storefront, the Deli will still put it to use, even if its doors are closed to everyday traffic. The space will soon be rented, too, by Cookeville’s Thomas Cox, owner and creator of MealFit, a monthly meal-planning service. MealFit has grown to add a MealFit Ready option, or ready-made meals that are cooked and packaged. More details on that are expected in coming weeks.

“I want to thank all our loyal supporters at Westside Deli, and we hope you’ll follow your favorite food over to Seven Senses,” Albrecht said.

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