Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Al's Always Open
The scaffolding's up, but Al's not down.
Al and customer
His BB's Deli has been a sidewalk hole-in-the wall in the Sandford long-stay hotel building for 16 years, always known for its deals.
But the hotel's going through a major renovation (understandable: it was built in 1913), and Al Kazzazi's deli is kinda hidden in the scaffolding.
Somewhere behind this scaffolding is Al's place
This scaffolding's going to be here months
But he's not letting it interrupt business.
"Hell no, this could take another year. We're staying open."
There will be a lot of people breathing a sigh of relief. Al's place (at 1321 Fifth Avenue, near Ash, 619-238-4567) is a full-on social center for everyone from the nearby Paul Mitchell hair-salon school to the Sandford seniors to the wannabe hairdressers from the barbers' school next door.
"This is an inconvenience," says Al. "When the recession hit, I lost 60 percent of my business. I'm back to 80 percent of what I was making, but I should raise prices because rent, food...all cost me more. But my customers...I haven't raised prices since 2006."
My favorite is BB's Special, a sandwich named after Al's grandmother. BB was her nickname. It's a turkey, bacon, Swiss, and avocado ($6.50). With chips and a drink, you're out $7.83. And that's with tax.
But if you're light of pocket, you can always get an egg-and-cheese muffin for $1.89 (with tax), or, if you make it before 10 a.m., $1.50 (with tax). How great is that?
Worth climbing through the scaffolding for.
Pictured: the Sandford, before repairs