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Food & Drink

Great News, Focaccia Freaks: Marty’s Deli Opens This Weekend

More good news: There are breakfast sandwiches now!

photo, left: a sandwich on focaccia stacked up on top of itself. Photo, right: an overhead look at tile flooring that reads "Yoo-Hoo!"
Left: Photo by Jimmy Eagle with food stylist Madeline Fitzgerald. Right: @martysdeli on Instagram.

For folks who’ve come to count on weekly pop-ups from Marty’s Deli, the tail end of 2022 has been rough: no sandwiches since mid-November, as Martha Polacek and co. put the finishing touches on their new northeast Minneapolis shop.

But the winter of your discontent is juuust about over. Marty’s Deli opens this weekend at 400 Lowry Ave. NE, with a grand opening on Saturday, January 7.

Since announcing the new deli in April, the Marty’s crew has been hard at work transforming the former tattoo shop into a bright and sunny deli. But Polacek says the buildout honestly went really smoothly—her partner is a carpenter, and his handiwork helped the whole process not suck too much.

“It was so hard, honestly, and so, so much work,” she says. “But I was kind of, the whole time, anticipating that someone would come to me and be like, ‘You didn’t order this part that we needed that takes six months to get,’ and that didn’t really happen.”

The classic focaccia sandwiches that have become a hit since Marty’s got its start in 2020, including the briny-crunchy-wonderful Pool & Yacht, have been joined by a new chicken cutlet sandwich called The Lefty, as well as soups, which you can buy hot or take to-go from the cooler. Also in the cooler? Items and sides like potato salad, chicken salad, and pimento cheese with feta that you can take home for later.

The biggest change, menu-wise, is that Marty’s now has egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches—still served on focaccia—which you can play with to your heart’s content.

“You can add braised greens if you’re a vegetarian; you can do bacon,” Polacek says. “We make a house sausage, we can put a hash brown patty on there.”

They’ll also have some breakfast sides, including those hash browns, along with hot and iced coffee.

The building has been transformed into an adorable, pint-sized sandwich shop. From the bench in the front window, you can take in the whole space: four tables, and a long bar/counter across from the open kitchen, where you can see the Marty’s team making all the spreads, breads, and pickled things that eventually become sandwiches. The design mirrors the colors of Marty’s branding, with lots of peach and orange and royal blue.

And at the entryway—though it’s covered up by non-slip mats thanks to all this winter weather—is the super-cute “Yoo-Hoo!” tilework pictured above. It’s inspired by Polacek’s grandma: “When you enter her house, you shout ‘Yoo-hoo!’ and then she’ll shout it back to tell you where she is,” she chuckles. “I never thought it was unique until I went to college out east and people were like, ‘What? Sorry, what did you say?'”

For now, Polacek’s focus is on getting the Northeast shop and running, which means the pop-ups are on hold indefinitely. But if all goes well, maybe this summer you’ll see a few of ’em.

And it sure seems like all will go well: “Things are already so much smoother,” Polacek says. Their old ovens, for example, were able to fit four sheets of focaccia at a time, and it took 30 minutes to bake them. In the new space, the Marty’s crew can tackle 10 at once, baking them to perfection in just 15 minutes.

“And it’s just nice to be in the space where the food is going to be sold,” Polacek adds. “I can’t wait to have it full of people actually eating, instead of sending them home with a bag.”

Marty’s Deli
400 Lowry Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Wednesday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.