Two Cincinnati culinary and coffee favorites are banding together to bring a little bit of the Big Apple to the Queen City.
Chef Jose Salazar and his JPS Restaurant Group and Deeper Roots Coffee have partnered together to open Daylily, a New York City-inspired bodega and deli in Columbia Tusculum.
"Jose and (his wife) Ann Salazar grew up in Queens. They grew up going to bodegas in New York and there isn't a New York-style bodega in Cincinnati. It's something they've been craving for a long time and could not scratch that itch. So they were like, 'Let's make it. Let's bring one to Cincinnati,'" says Daylily General Manager Sami Stewart. (Disclosure: Stewart is also a freelancer for CityBeat.)
Stewart says the goal is to create a "slightly elevated" version of a bodega, but with all the iconic eats. There will be bacon, egg and cheese on a roll; a chop cheese, with ground beef, American cheese and caramelized onions on bun; and a deli serving made-to-order sandwiches.
There will be two wine taps and two beer taps, with a selection of alcohol for carry-out. And Deeper Roots will also be offering its full coffee menu — but not in the infamous blue-and-white Greek coffee cup. That New York favorite has been swapped out for a compostable version.
"That is something that Deeper Roots is bringing in — the ecological standpoint of understanding our footprint and trying to lessen it," Stewart says.
Daylily will also act as a streamlined grocer. The nearest Kroger locations to Columbia Tusculum are in Hyde Park or even Mariemont, so Daylily will offer staples — canned items, fresh produce — as well as goods from local artisans, like Sixteen Bricks and Cin-Soy, at an affordable price point.
"Everything is essentials that are nicer," Stewart says. "It's more organic- and natural-leaning, not necessarily all organic. We wanted to fill a need for everybody in the community. And Columbia Tusculum is pretty diverse from from an income perspective."
Daylily has also tapped Jeremy Manis, formerly of Avril-Bleh Meat Market & Deli, to act as kitchen manager.
"Jeremy knows what's up as far as deli meat selection," Stewart says.
And the meat is another aspect Salazar is hoping will pay homage to the bodegas of his youth.
"A big thing for Jose was using Boar's Head. Like Boar's Head maybe isn't the (fanciest) meat you could possibly find, but it is super consistent and very recognizable and really nostalgic," Stewart says. "The ham is the same ham that he grew up eating at a bodega in Queens. That was a really important factor."
But the goetta will be local and from Eckerlin Meats in Findlay Market.
Just like the food at Daylily pays tribute to its New York peers — but with an upgrade — so does the storefront's design.
"Bodega's are famously cluttered, and that is classic. That's what you expect to get — like floor-to-ceiling Metro shelving — (but) that isn't what we're doing," Stewart says. "We have checkered tile floors, butcher block countertops, wood paneling in the back, some two-tone racing stripes along the bar, a lot of exposed brick. It has a legit deli case."
There will be limited seating inside — three booths and some spots at a bar top — plus a deck out back.
And as much as Daylily is trying to capture the New York vibe, one thing will be missing: a bodega cat.
"The health department says no," Stewart says. "I thought about getting a stuffed cat and putting it up like on a shelf."
Daylily Deli is located at 3751 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum. The project opening date is early August, and the hours are slated to be 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.
For more info, visit daylilydeli.com.