Deli Down has cycled through new ownership much in the same fashion as a sports franchise looks for a winning coach after a long-term legend retires.
It was just two years ago that brothers Dan and Andy La Fond called it a day after nearly 25 years of serving lunch and catering nights and weekends.
The La Fonds sold to Bruce Brown, who owned a variety of night spots in the surrounding block between Bear Creek and Riverside Avenue. In January, Shawn and Jo An Peters acquired the deli on the lower level of the Main Street Market at 406 E. Main St. Shawn Peters managed the establishment for the16 months before taking over, but closed the business last month.
Now, Tim and Dawn Vincent are hoping to restore some of the luster to the noontime hangout.
"We tell people we're the third and final owner of Deli Down," said Tim Vincent, who once worked for the brothers as a teenager before going off to learn more about the bar and restaurant business from Joe Stella of the Hungry Woodsman and Joe's Sports Bar.
While Vincent has no illusions of turning back the clock, he quickly drew on his association with the La Fonds to revive both the menu and atmosphere that drew lunch crowds.
The brothers have dropped in to help the new owners get dialed in and even go over recipes to "make sure the food tastes like Dan and Andy made it," Vincent said. "We started making the baguette bread this morning; we're actually making the stuff."
They also are bringing back an all-you-can-eat pasta bar with familiar tasting sauces and tomato bisque.
More than the pasta salads and soups, however, was the interaction between the La Fonds and their customers that created repeat customers.
"It was their presence that created that fun feel," Vincent said. "The personalization and face-to-face contact. We want to have that kind of personality to go with the food, keeping it light and fun."
After his stint managing Joe's Sports Bar and handling marketing for Hungry Woodsman, The Store and Star Catering, Vincent moved on to become the restaurant manager at Centennial Golf Club for four years. Dawn Vincent handled management and bookkeeping duties for TJs in downtown Medford and later at the Rogue Valley Country Club.
One new twist, the Vincents have in mind is a "Date Night" — a limited engagement for perhaps 10 couples.
"It would be something along the lines of a wine dinner," Tim Vincent said. "But more affordable."
Deli Down's hours are 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and the telephone number is 541-772-4520.
Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.