Sycamore Deli plans to reopen in its new downtown location on April 12.
The restaurant — which has been in Blacksburg for 16 years — is moving from Turner Street to The Lantern’s old location on Draper Road to make room for a new Virginia Tech parking garage.
Mike Weber, the restaurant’s owner, expects to reach a new target market in the downtown location.
“We’re going to have a lot more walk-in traffic,” he said.
Weber was skeptical about the move downtown, but he became optimistic after seeing the amount of people walking around downtown.
Although Weber has already settled his business in the new building, relocating was not the smoothest transition.
“We got two weeks of people not knowing what’s going on,” Weber said. “And people that didn’t know we were moving are like, ‘Oh no, they closed down.’”
Sycamore Deli was expected to open its new location on April 5, but fire safety issues delayed the opening. While Weber thought the fire alarms were adequate, the fire marshal concluded that they needed to be upgraded for the restaurant to open.
The future parking garage on Turner Street will contain office space. Weber said he hopes to open a second Sycamore Deli in one of the offices. Opening a second restaurant would help Weber reach the downtown crowd, as well as students living on campus.
“Where we were on Turner Street, we had all the dorms and were within walking distance to 25,000 people on a daily basis,” Weber said.
Weber will make changes at the new location. He is adding 25 new sandwiches to the menu, including new burger and hot dog selections.
The current menu includes bagels, international wraps, chicken sandwiches, pitas, soup, salads, subs and desserts, such as chocolate chip cookies and homemade brownies.
The new location will also have a bar that will feature beer on tap. However, the new location will not sell kegs as the old one did.
“That sucks,” said Mark Potter, a senior industrial and systems engineering major. “That was pretty much the only place to get kegs that I knew of, and they had good prices on them.”
But student customers still expect the new location to thrive.
“The bar and beer on tap downtown will likely draw people in,” Potter said, “especially for a happy hour dinner combo.”
Potter predicts that moving downtown will increase Sycamore Deli’s revenue.
“They were off the beaten path,” Potter said, “and I think that hurt their business.”
Weber said he believes Sycamore Deli is unique compared to other sandwich spots, such as Macado’s and Subway.
“We’re like no other place in town,” Weber said. “We’re all about the food, so the service is all about the food part.”
Weber said customers get bang for their buck.
“You get a lot of food for an inexpensive price on 80 percent of our sandwiches,” he said. “We don’t sell you a lot of sizzle or attitude when you walk in the door.”
Sycamore Deli has a $4.99 daily special, which includes a drink, chips and a cookie.
While a sandwich can reach $10.45, it is typically filled with one-and-a-half to two pounds of meat. Weber said that size sandwich could be munched on for three days.
“We’ll hopefully open April 12,” Weber said. “Don’t forget about us.”