Sidestreets Deli, Charlotte’s own New York-style deli, started out as an East Lansing deli in 1986 and opened a second location in Lansing in 1991. That’s where both Jay and Lindsey Hull were employed and started dating in 1995. Their manager at Sidestreets, the late Dennis Carter, always credited himself with being the matchmaker that brought the couple together. They married in June of 2001.
As part of their twentieth anniversary celebration, Jay planned a special trip down memory lane to surprise his wife. Their first stop was the Cooley Gardens in Lansing, where the couple tied the knot amongst the flowers. Charlar Place in Holt, now known as The Hidden Gem, was their next stop, which was where they held their reception.
The next destination was a real step back in time. The two Lansing area Sidestreets Delis are long gone, but they headed to Charlotte to visit their former employers, Dave and Rose McNamara, the founders of Sidestreets Deli in Lansing and East Lansing. The McNamaras now own just the one location in Charlotte. With perfect and lucky timing, both Dave and Rose were working in the store when the couple arrived and introduced themselves.
“I was in shock when I realized who they were,” David McNamara said. “I remember Jay, he was about 18 or 19 back then. It brought back a lot of memories from the old stores and the crazy things we used to do.”
“They still have the awesome cheese bread I remember,” Lindsey said. “It just made me realize that so many things have changed over the years, but some things still remain the same.” Lindsey was a social work major at Michigan State University when working at Sidestreets, and now is the Chief Executive Officer of Shiawassee Health & Wellness.
Sidestreets Deli was a great place to work, both Hulls stated, with a real family atmosphere.
The Hulls live in Perry now and have a 19-year-old son. McNamara urged them to get their son to apply to work at the deli, just like they did. “It would be fun to make it a generational thing, with the whole family working here at some point.”
The McNamaras have had other people come in and say that they worked for them in the past, but this was extra special with the two getting and staying married for 20 years, and dropping in to visit them, McNamara stated.
Sidestreets Deli is located at 116 South Cochran in downtown Charlotte.