Old World Deli is under new ownership and is looking to expand its menu with a Create-a-Sandwich contest.
At first glance, the deli on Court Street may seem like a run-of-the-mill sandwich shop. But for new owner Jordan Jicha, ’15, it’s much more.
“Being a native of the Southern Tier, I understand the strength in the community,” Jicha said in a news release. “I am proud to be a member of the Southern Tier and will strive to provide the community the quality food and service it deserves.”
He’s looking to bring something to the area that chain sandwich shops like Subway or Jimmy John’s can’t; he said he values the individual attention and quality each sandwich receives. Aside from making subs, the restaurant serves up fresh soups, salads and desserts.
Jicha grew up in Conklin, New York and studied economics at Binghamton University before he took over the management of Old World Deli on Jan. 1 of this year.
“The only major change since my new ownership is that we are open on the weekends now — Friday and Saturday until 4 a.m.,” Jicha said. “We are joining the bar scene here in Downtown Binghamton. We will also be open for brunch on Sundays.”
Jicha got the idea for the Create-a-Sandwich competition from his experience as director of business operations for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
“We did a lot of contests there and I always thought it was a cool way to get the community involved in your business,” he said. “I wondered how I could bring that here and I realized we have sandwiches and people can create their own.”
Anyone in the Southern Tier who is interested in trying their hand at creating a new sandwich is welcome to submit their creation in person at the Old World Deli or online through their Facebook page or their website, bingowd.com.
Cesar Rojas, a 12-year veteran cook at Old World Deli, said he is excited about the crowds this competition will bring in.
“We have quite a few [recipes for] sandwiches that people have already dropped in the box,” Rojas said. “And starting next week, we’re gonna start making them. I have definitely seen a lot more people come in because [Jicha] advertised it. That’s one thing the other manager didn’t do.”
The competition began Feb. 28 and will run until April 1. For each week of the contest, one sandwich will be featured in the restaurant and the sandwich that sells the most at the end of the contest will be the overall winner. The sandwiches will also be judged on their “wow” factor, taste and creativeness.
The winner will be announced on April 2 and the creator of the best-selling sandwich will win a free footlong sandwich each week for a year.
The Create-a-Sandwich contest is just one of the few ways Jicha plans to get Old World Deli more involved in the community. In the past, the deli catered a Super Bowl party for the nonprofit organization Mom’s House in Johnson City, and they plan to support more events like that in the future.
Jicha said his long-term goals for the deli are to create more of a “hangout atmosphere” and eventually open a food truck.
He said his interest in owning Old World Deli came from his past experiences at the deli and his desire to provide a new spot for community members to make memories.
“I have always aspired to stay in this community and give back, everyone here has such a tight-knit bond,” he said. “The cool thing about the restaurant business is that everyone has a story about their own restaurant experience and I wanted to be a part of that.”