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From ashes, a sandwich is reborn

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In March 2010, an unknown arsonist attacked a restaurant on Foothill Boulevard, leaving Cabo San Luis a hollow frame of smoldering embers. Smoke and flames spread to nearby businesses, causing extensive damage and the long-term closure of Kona’s Deli.

- PHOENIX QUEEN :  Kona’s Deli owner Paula Boggs (left) and employees (left to right) Gina Luiz, Ashley Lopez, and Andrea Smith won’t let a little arson keep them from producing fantastic sandwiches. -  - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOENIX QUEEN : Kona’s Deli owner Paula Boggs (left) and employees (left to right) Gina Luiz, Ashley Lopez, and Andrea Smith won’t let a little arson keep them from producing fantastic sandwiches.

“It was devastating,” said the deli’s owner, Paula Boggs. “The only thing that survived was a single meat slicer. Everything else is new.”

The buildings were torn to the ground and rebuilt from scratch, a process that took a year and a half. Foothill Square and Boggs were insured to cover the material damage and the cost of rebuilding, but there was nothing to supplement the lost income during the long process. With so much constant contact between herself and the insurance company, Boggs wound up working part time for State Farm during the break.

But the time for insurance has passed, and it’s back to business for Boggs. On Sept. 9, Kona’s Deli opened its doors once more, almost as if nothing had happened.

“I always knew we’d reopen,” Boggs said. “I looked around for other locations, but decided to stay here with all our neighbors. It feels like home.”

The fire and temporary closure did have some positive side effects. Boggs was able to acquire a liquor license for beer and wine, and the building was redesigned to accommodate patio seating that would be ideal for music in the evenings.

“We’re thinking about a happy hour and maybe music when the landscaping is done,” Boggs said. “And we’ve got a whole wall dedicated to local art.”

Located at 977 E. Foothill Blvd., Kona’s Deli specializes in serving big sandwiches loaded with fresh veggies and meats sliced so thin there’s nowhere for the flavor to hide. Stop by between 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. for a quick, delicious meal that’s guaranteed to hit the spot. There’s plenty of parking behind the building and friendly faces behind the counter at this Hawaiian-themed eatery.

“It’s been wonderful to see returning customers,” Boggs said. “This is a fun, upbeat place with a lot of students, but also plenty of families and working people.”

 

Fast facts

Tyrone Armstrong is launching a kickstarter.com campaign to amass funds that will allow him to turn a home-brewing hobby in Atascadero into a full-fledged business. TNA Candy Beers infuses malty brews with sweet flavors, but the company needs to raise $45,000 between Oct. 1 and 31 to bring its products to stores. Armstrong promises that a sizable portion of the company’s profits will be set aside for a shelter in Cambria that will care for homeless teens, and those who donate will receive special tasting privileges, clothing, and more. For more information or to donate, visit tnacandybeers.com. …

The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce recently announced the launch of a new website that aims to help entrepreneurs open, expand, or re-locate businesses in SLO. Rich with detailed data and local resource information, openforbusinessinslo.com hopes to be a vital resource for the city’s economic future. ∆

 

Calendar Editor Nick Powell compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business news to strokesandplugs@newtimesslo.com.

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