Jim WisniewskiLisa Sizemore and her staff at Lisa’s Deli provide conversation as warm and enjoyable as their food. For seven years, the Pasadena shop has served breakfast and lunch in a friendly, cozy atmosphere.
Food And Camaraderie Go Hand In Hand At Lisa’s Deli
When Lisa Sizemore first conceived the idea of opening her own restaurant, it was because she wanted a job where she could be personable. “I love being around people, but of course, nobody pays you to stand around and talk, so you have to do something,” she recalled. “I figured, ‘Well, everybody eats, so I’ll go with food.’”
And go with food she did. A Pasadena resident who was working at Lucky’s Convenience Market at the time, Sizemore heard from a friend who called and said, “Hey, there’s this place right on Mountain Road that’s for sale.”
Sizemore went down to look at the location that she would eventually buy and turn into Lisa’s Deli, but at first, she wasn’t impressed. “My husband was the one who said, ‘You gotta close your mind to what’s here,’” she said.
Sizemore bought the property in August 2010, and within a month, she and her family had spruced up the place with new painting and décor. Lisa’s Deli officially opened its doors on September 4, 2010, and since then, Sizemore has been chatting it up with her customers while serving them hot breakfasts and lunches six days a week.
“I have fantastic customers — I really do,” Sizemore said. “I have people who’ve been coming in here since we opened, and they’re not just my customers anymore. They’re my friends. They’re just great people. I’ve been really, really fortunate. We joke and carry on a lot. We have a great time.”
Even though she rises every morning at 4:30am to get a start on the day, Sizemore does it thankfully and enthusiastically because she never knows what adventure she will have that day or what interesting stories she will hear.
From 6:00am to 3:00pm Monday through Saturday, Lisa’s Deli serves breakfast specialties, sandwiches and a variety of sides. Everything is made to order, and daily specials keep the menu interesting. But what really sets Lisa’s Deli apart from other places is the friendliness of its staff and the relationship employees have with their customers.
“We appreciate our customers,” Sizemore said, explaining that she encourages her team to greet all guests as they walk in the door — even when the restaurant is busy — because it makes the customer feel welcome. “I don’t care what you’re doing; you can still say, ‘Hey, how’re you doing today?’” she said.
Because she’s so connected with and grateful to her customers, Sizemore is always happy to help them out when they need it. “We’ll donate to anything,” she said. “If their children play sports, we’ll donate. If they’re selling candy bars, we’ll let them leave their candy bars here and we sell ‘em for them.” But Sizemore emphasized that she doesn’t appreciate when she’s approached for a donation by someone who’s never patronized her restaurant before. “I’m partial to our customers,” she said.
Additionally, Sizemore and her team will go out of their way to accommodate loyal patrons. As an example, Sizemore explained, Lisa’s Deli usually delivers only to businesses, not to residents, but if a regular is sick, injured or for some other reason unable to stop by the restaurant, somebody will try to get out to take that person a sandwich.
Although Lisa’s Deli has gained enormous popularity among locals in the seven years since it’s been open, Sizemore doesn’t have any plans to expand to a bigger location any time soon. “A lot of people say, ‘You need a bigger place,’ but honestly, I think this place is sort of a one-size-fits-all,” she said. “It’s comfortable. When you get a bigger place, you lose the personal part. I love this little place. It gets quite tight at times, and we don’t have the biggest area in the back, but we work with it and make do.”
Countless locals have enjoyed the warm hospitality and food of Lisa’s Deli, but those who haven’t will not want to miss out on the place that’s steadily becoming a Pasadena icon. With no website and an existent but rarely updated Facebook page, Sizemore encourages people to stop by in person at 2608 Mountain Road between 6:00am and 3:00pm Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 410-437-3354.