The shop has been closed for nearly a year
A popular Nottingham lunchtime haunt has reopened after closing nearly a year ago.
Whitwell Deli, once named the fourth best place in the country for a sandwich by the Sunday Times, closed last July after 20 years.
The sign above the door in Alfreton Road has yet to change, but the business has been renamed Elsie’s, in tribute to the new owner’s grandmother.
Former chef Sarah Gartland will be serving cooked breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, cake and a hot lunchtime option each day.
The 37-year-old said: “I have always loved working in jobs in which I get to meet new people and when the opportunity came up to work with food whilst being able to interact with the customers I jumped at the chance.
“The shop was named after my Gran who taught me to cook from an early age. She worked as a dinner lady at Rosehill School and was always in the kitchen, she made the most amazing royal iced wedding cakes.
“She was one of the strongest, most loving and selfless ladies I’ve ever met and played a huge part in all her grandchildren and great grandchildren’s lives.”
Elsie, who passed away a few years ago aged 94, is honoured by a black and white photo on the wall behind the counter.
“We are hoping to provide a service to the businesses in the area along with the student community and a delivery service in the near future,” added Sarah.
A former teaching assistant, Sarah retrained as a chef five years ago, and from college, went to work for Ruddingon events company McArtney’s.
As head chef, she cooked for the Duke of Cambridge on his visit to a rehabilitation centre for injured military personnel at Stanford Hall, Leicestershire.
“It was a cold buffet of lemon and dill baked salmon, fillet beef, goats cheese and roasted veg tarts and salads, followed by a white chocolate torte.
“Sadly it was the time of the Grenfell Tower fire and the London Bridge terror attack so he had to get back for the memorial and didn’t have time to meet us properly.”
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Whitwell’s previous owners Joe and Breeda Keane closed the business to concentrate on corporate catering for accountants, solicitors and architects.
Regulars were drawn to the shop by “eccentric” sandwich fillings – some named after customers. ‘Healthy Henry’, in homage to a Sony sales rep, consisted of tuna, eggs, beetroot and minted crème fraiche.
Sarah will have all the standard fillings along with BBQ meatballs, steak with red onion chutney, hummus with cucumber and beetroot relish, bacon and halloumi with tomato relish and halloumi with sweet chilli and rocket.
Elsie’s will be open Monday to Friday 8am to 2pm and Saturday to Sunday 10am to 2pm.
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