Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

Making a major business change, like expanding and moving your business to a new location, is a pretty gutsy thing to do during a worldwide pandemic. But David McNamara, owner of Sidestreets Deli, Charlotte’s own New York-style deli, did just that. Sidestreets Deli reopened on February 22 at its new location at 116 South Cochran Avenue, downtown Charlotte.
It’s something he’s wanted to do for a long time, he said. “We’ve been cramped for space for a really long time.” The former deli measured 11 feet wide and 33 feet long, creating about 356 square feet of space. The new location is roughly 2,500 square feet in size. Large enough to have adequate floor space, yet it is still a cozy and welcoming atmosphere for hungry visitors.
They offer some of Charlotte’s best sandwiches, baked goods, meats, cheeses, soups, paninis, and salads, featuring Boarshead brand meats, cheeses, and other specialty items.
The new space has allowed them to add a European-style bakery. All items are made fresh each day at Sidestreets Deli. There are new bread selections, including olive bread, cranberry orange bread, challah bread, jalapeño cheddar, and sourdough. You can request a particular bread for your sandwich or you can buy a loaf, with slicing available upon request.
But it will probably be the sweet treats in the bakery display case that will catch your eye. You’ll see raspberry and chocolate Napoleons (delicate French pastries), along with scones, cookies, cannolis, bagels, and much more.
McNamara recommends his personal favorite, the Oatmeal Scotchies, which are made with oatmeal and butterscotch chips. All the pastries are made in-house daily, completely from scratch, by their baking team. “No mixes or boxes or cans, and no preservatives,” McNamara explained.
“I give the bakery staff free rein,” McNamara said, “so the menu might change all the time. This will keep it fun and allow them to take ownership,” explained McNamara.
McNamara himself bakes the bread, coming in at 4 a.m. to start each day. Dan “Fudge” Fulgham helps.
There are still plans to add a hand-cut cheese shop to the deli, in time, and possibly a selection of wines to go with the cheese. Meat and salads are also available by the pound.
The relocation process started last fall. However, due to COVID-19, quarantining, injuries, surgery, plus the remodeling needed for the building, things took a while. Accessible bathrooms were added, and the plumbing, electrical, and heating were all upgraded.  Decorative features of the deli, like the cozy tables for two with European street scenes on the walls, a fountain, and a cheese “mural” were added to further enhance the atmosphere.
“We’ve doubled our staff here,” McNamara said, employing about 15 people. Also helping is his wife, Rose. “Her Italian heritage has played a major role in the menu at Sidestreets Deli,” added McNamara.
“The kids are awesome,” McNamara said about his staff. Most are 19 years old and younger, and four are currently enrolled at Charlotte High School. The manager of the deli is 19-year-old Ashley Koening. “These kids take control and make decisions on their own,” he added. “I love watching my employees excel.”
The renovations also include the addition of a community room in the back, which will eventually be available for meetings, birthdays, and other gatherings. The room will be available at no charge, but all food must be purchased from Sidestreets Deli.
As an entrepreneur, McNamara sees this as possibly the first of several other delis in his future. He has been approached by other communities to open additional locations.
“But right now, my focus is Charlotte, where I live. I want to offer the quality and service that make people come back,” explained McNamara.
Sidestreets Deli is located at 116 South Cochran, between Lawrence and Lovett, and is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. Call 517-543-7243 for more information or to place an order. Visit them on Facebook at “SidestreetsDeli” to view their daily menu.