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Bigger on the inside!



It’s so easy to make references to the popular television series, Dr. Who, when I think about the Sidewalk Market and Mediterranean Deli. And by that I mean don’t let the green and beige exterior of this corner store fool you like it did me—it’s bigger on the inside!

MAN WITH A PLAN … AND FOOD :  Toni Tanous has made some big changes to the Sidewalk Market, including a Mediterranean deli. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • MAN WITH A PLAN … AND FOOD : Toni Tanous has made some big changes to the Sidewalk Market, including a Mediterranean deli.

OK, so there isn’t more room than the laws of nature permit, and it won’t literally take you to different places in time and space, but with the recent addition of a full-scale Mediterranean deli, this well known neighborhood landmark has taken on an entirely new dimension. Inside, there’s whole worlds to explore, from local wines and Argentinean Maté tea to hummus.

So how did this amazing market get here? Ten words: The place used to be a dumpy liquor store and when it went up for sale, Toni Tanous and his partners jumped at the chance to make the Sidewalk Market into something that added real value to the community.

Yes, that was 38 words, but I told you this place is bigger on the inside! Toni and the rest of his family have worked hard and been through some serious tribulations to get to where they are today. In fact, Toni and the rest of the family helped their last few family members relocate to San Luis Obispo County just before their authoritarian government—Syria—imploded and the killing started. Talk about saving the day!

Situated in the historic neighborhood of San Luis Obispo known as the Railroad District, Sidewalk Market is family owned and operated. Toni is the driving force behind this “has everything you’ll ever really need” neighborhood corner store, and along with his brother, Kamil Tanous, and wife, Sherrin Albaik, they do a fine job of catering to their customers’ needs and wants.

“I added this section [to the deli] because people kept asking me to. You know, I was always talking about this food we made,” Toni said.

On the menu, you’ll find Shawarma Plates, with your choice of beef or chicken. They include hummus, tahini sauce, onion, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, pepperoncini, pickles, and some pita bread to do with as you wish. Also on the menu are pita sandwiches graced with the same mouth-watering, cooked fresh daily, chicken, beef, or falafel—a vegetarian delight for sure. And then there’s the famous NONA Sandwich. Ah, yes. It’s been voted “best grinder in SLO,” to which I say, “That was no accident, ladies and gentlemen.” There are other sandwiches on the menu, and all of them are full of flavor. Can I say flavor again? Flavor!

Sidewalk Market and Mediterranean Deli is at 1401 Osos St. in SLO. Their number is 545-8636. Food on the deli menu is served between 11a.m. and 8 p.m.

If you want to make a new friend in SLO, if you need some inspiration, or perhaps you want some new interesting facts to impress your friends with, or maybe a unique bottle of wine to give as a gift, or the tea of the gods, or red plastic cups, or authentic multicultural foods, or a toothbrush, or a place to stop on an “exploring downtown San Luis Obispo” date, or something else entirely, stop in, grab a bite to eat from the new menu, and ask Toni about his tea with the neat silver straw

Fast fact

The fourth annual Central Coast Railroad Festival is happening from Oct. 4 to 8, The festival is a broad-based event that focuses on railroading with an eye toward the beauty of the Central Coast. For more information, visit

Intern Sarah Childers compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business and nonprofit news to

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