A new quick-service New York style sandwich shop, King’s Deli, located at 201 E. 5th St., opened on Sept. 26 in the original location of the Greenville Museum of Art and continues to bring a “sub shop vibe” to Uptown.
King’s Deli is owned by Tobias and Kelly Boutilier, the same couple who owns and runs Starlight Cafe in Uptown Greenville. Tobias Boutilier said the couple noticed a gap in the lunch offerings in Greenville and decided to fill it with the new deli.
“I feel like every college town has that like quintessential sandwich shop, and I feel like it was something Greeville didn’t have, so we’re trying to provide that like a block from ECU (East Carolina University), you know like a fun place you can bring your family when they come to town, get a quick sandwich, enjoy yourself on the patio,” Tobias Boutilier said.
The sandwiches are priced between $9 and $12 and salads are $3.50 each, according to the Boutiliers. King’s Deli is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. Compared to Starlight, Toby Boutilier said King’s Deli will be more casual and rather than being a sit down meal, the restaurant will have sandwiches served to customers in about five to 10 minutes.
Tobias Boutilier said King’s Deli offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu items. He said they wanted to try to keep King’s Deli away from a “sub shop vibe” and make it more of an authentic New York sandwich shop.
“We noticed everyone has, like, sub shops in town, so we didn’t really want to do a sub shop kind of thing. It’ll be more like individual sandwiches made on like really good bread. We’re going to roast our own meats in-house, everything’s made to order and with fresh ingredients,” Tobias Boutilier said.
The deli has an outdoor patio area, Kelly Boutilier said. On the day of its opening, it held a pet adoption event with Pitt Friends, a nonprofit group fit to help animals in high kill shelters around Pitt County, on the back patio, she said. King’s Deli is a pet-friendly space, she said, and hopes to see four legged friends stop by.
The patio can seat about 50 people, Kelly Boutilier said, and was landscaped by Plant and See, a plant nursery located in Winterville. She said she thinks the patio will be a big draw for people who may not be ready to eat inside yet during the pandemic.
“Especially during the COVID(-19) times, I think it’s important for, you know, people that aren’t really comfortable going inside the restaurants to be able to have somewhere that they can dine outside,” Kelly Boutilier said.
King’s Deli is housed in the location of the original 1940’s Greenville Museum of Art, according to Tobias Boutilier. He said it will have rotating local art shows come through the restaurant. Kelly Boutilier said the shows will change about every three months, with the first installation by Tyler Wolf, an alumnus of the ECU School of Art and Design.
Brandon Qualls, owner of Ford + Shep located at 718 Dickinson Ave., said he has known Tobias and Kelly Boutilier for a long time. He said he was able to visit Starlight Cafe when the couple hosted menu testing for King’s Deli.
“(King’s Deli has) definitely unique and artisan sandwiches that is kind of a little something we’re missing in Greenville. The sides are amazing. You know, just packed full of flavor,” Qualls said.
While businesses continue to be affected by COVID-19, it is great to have people still “investing in downtown,” according to Qualls. He said it gives hope to the people in the local restaurant business to see a new restaurant open in the uncertain times COVID-19 has brought.
Qualls said both he and his staff are “super pumped” for King’s Deli to give the community a new place they can go for lunch uptown. He said he thinks it will fill in something that is missing from the Uptown Greenville lunch scene.
“It’s just cool, playful food that’s backed up by amazing taste, presentation and flavor. We are just pumped to be able to have another amazing place to kind of grab some lunch and it’s a great place to bring people,” Qualls said. “The interior, from what I’ve seen, is really cool and hip, and it's fun to see this little town trying to grow into a city.”