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@Work: Deli Grotto

Dec. 10, 2004 – St. John is all abuzz about the great food at the new Deli Grotto at Mongoose Junction Shopping Center. The deli is the latest to occupy the ground-floor deli space at the shopping center.
"We've given it a totally different atmosphere," co-owner Amy Anderson said.
Anderson, 26, and Dan Sheffey, 33, who owned the Grateful Deli in Red Hook, St. Thomas, are the new proprietors. Sheffey sharpened his chef's knives at the long-closed Zorba's Restaurant on St. Thomas, and spent several years bartending before he bought the Grateful Deli, which he sold eight months ago. Anderson worked her way up the charterboat ladder from mate to chef until the two hooked up in life and in business for this new venture.
Anderson said she likes to be creative with the food.
"And I like homemade food myself," she said.
The deli dishes up breakfast and lunch and early supper from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, it's open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The deli also carries bagels, pastries and its own multi-grain bread. The multi-grain bread recipe came from Zorba's Restaurant.
While you can get your food to go, the Deli Grotto has a handful of tables inside where you can eat in air-conditioned comfort.
At breakfast, the menu runs to items like the Sunshine Day Dream, an egg and cheese sandwich on an English muffin, bagel or croissant. The French toast is dipped in a cinnamon-sugar batter and served with maple syrup.
The lunch menu includes a nice selection of pressed panini sandwiches served on foccacia bread. The portobello and mozzarella panini is messy to eat, but so tasty with its balsamic vinaigrette, caramelized onions and fresh basil dressing.
Names, like the Pink Cadillac, can be on the clever side. This sandwich comes with turkey, cheddar cheese, guacamole, salsa and cream cheese on pumpernickel bread.
Vegetarians will like the Tofu Tu Da Loo, which is marinated baked tofu, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sprouts, honey mustard and guacamole on whole-wheat toast.
The drinks menu includes, along with the usual iced tea and iced coffee, iced chai tea, a chai tea latte, espresso, fresh carrot juice and a selection of smoothies.
Sheffey and Anderson spent five months roaming the mainland looking for menu inspiration.
"It was a good excuse to indulge," Sheffey said.
Things have sailed along smoothly since the two opened the deli. Sheffey said it's not any more difficult having a deli on St. John than on St. Thomas. His only problem has been in finding help, a situation he also faced at the Grateful Deli.
Anderson said the two are excited about the deli's success and are looking forward to a busy winter season. "But we know we're going to work our tails off," she said.
Call the Deli Grotto at 777-3061.

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