Findlay Market's New Elm Street Social Club Pop-Up is Not Your Average Neighborhood Deli

The retro-themed take-out eatery inhabits the former Social OTR space, and features creative spins on deli classics as well as bodega and take-and-bake items

click to enlarge Findlay Market's New Elm Street Social Club Pop-Up is Not Your Average Neighborhood Deli
Photo: Provided by Elm St. Social Club

Over-the-Rhine's Findlay Market neighborhood welcomed a new take-out-centric eatery this fall in the space formerly inhabited by Social OTR. 

Elm St. Social Club aims to offer a "neighborhood sandwich shop" vibe, and surpasses all expectations along the way. 

Owner and chef Jordan Anthony-Brown is the brains behind the nostalgia-inducing deli, which officially opened its doors on Oct. 22 after a successful pop-up in June at the former eatery. 

Anthony-Brown, whose long-term plans include opening The Aperture restaurant in Walnut Hills' historic Paramount building, says the opportunity to open the deli was "serendipitous."

"The pop-up went well and, on the heels of it, I began a discussion with Findlay Market about taking over the space on a short-term, sub-lease basis; and that’s basically how we ended up creating Elm St. Social Club," he said in an email interview.>

"It was a unique opportunity that presented itself during what can only be described as a tumultuous year, and we felt fortunate just to have a restaurant space to call home, even if just for a short period of time."

click to enlarge A few of the items available at the eatery - Photo: Provided by Elm St. Social Club
Photo: Provided by Elm St. Social Club
A few of the items available at the eatery

The eatery offers deli sandwiches — like the The Bushwood, with turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, red wine vinegar chips and mayo on griddled sourdough bread; breakfast bites like the popular The Macho Man breakfast burrito, with scrambled egg, housemade chorizo, crema, tomatillo salsa, fried potato, cilantro and pickled jalapeno; sides like fries and Brussels slaw; and plenty of options for those with a sweet tooth, like frozen custard and salty chocolate chip cookies.

They also have daily specials on Fridays and Sundays, offering cherry-pepper brined fried chicken sandwiches and smashburgers, respectively. 

But Anthony-Brown says as the seasons change they're adapting their offerings to cater to folks sticking around home, featuring approachable, dinner-focused take-and-reheat bodega items like pastas that will offer a glimpse of what to expect at The Aperture next year. 

According to Anthony-Brown, functioning as a take-out only operation feels odd in such a generously-sized space — with only four employees — but the restaurant's creative director and pastry chef Willa Pelini "put an a lot of work and thought into our physical space and visual branding, which has contributed greatly to our identity as a pop-up concept."

The restaurant's back bar space is currently not in use, but Anthony-Brown says they may eventually utilize it for some limited-capacity seating this spring. 

Despite navigating the circumstances within the space and our current climate, the elements involved have proven beneficial for Elm St. Social Club's mechanics. 

"It’s simply just a unique opportunity, and it enables us to create and integrate new products and menu items quickly and efficiently, whenever we feel the need or desire to do so.  We also have a fantastic team with a significant breadth and depth of experience; the aggregate skill set that we have at our disposal simply gives us the opportunity to work and execute at a high level," Anthony-Brown says. 

And as the pandemic continues to surge, they strive to offer a safe and trustworthy way to provide guests quality sustenance, and to "feel happy and fulfilled in a way that’s been hard to come by in 2020."

Elm St. Social Club, 1819 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 

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