Graham Kilmer

Scardina Specialties New Deli is Official

The owner of the beloved Riverwest deli has officially secure a new home for it.

By - Apr 15th, 2022 03:04 pm
13-715 E. Locust St. File photo taken Feb. 22, 2022 by Graham Kilmer.

13-715 E. Locust St. File photo taken Feb. 22, 2022 by Graham Kilmer.

It’s official. The beloved Riverwest deli Scardina Specialties will be reopening in the neighborhood at a new location on E. Locust St.

In February, Urban Milwaukee reported that owner Damien Scardina had plans to relocate the business to 713-715 E. Locust St. after the building that was their original home was shut down and condemned by the city.

Scardina told Urban Milwaukee at the time that he was in the process of securing a loan to buy the building on Locust Ave. Now, he’s closed on the loan allowing him to move forward his plans to reopen Scardina Specialties by the summer.

“We are ready to Rock N’ Roll!” Scardina told Urban Milwaukee in an email.

The new building was formerly the Riverwest Healing Arts. It’s bigger than the old deli and opens up some new opportunities for the business. “We’ll double in size and then some,” Scardina said. The new deli will have a full kitchen and small dine-in space, and an expanded hot food menu.

Scardina Specialties is a family-owned business that’s been operating in Riverwest since 2012. It has a loyal base of customers in the neighborhood, and many others that make the journey from other parts of the city for their signature sausages, take and bake pizzas, and spiedini.

The business abruptly closed in 2021 when the city’s Department of Neighborhood Services declared the building it was in “unfit for human habitation” and issued a raze order.

“To close, and to be done like that, I was like ‘No way, that’s not an option.,” Scardina told Urban Milwaukee in February this year.

The deli’s loyal following has been holding their breath, wondering what the future will hold. Scardina said he was constantly stopped by Riverwesters during this intervening period who inquired as to the deli’s future.

On Friday, the deli posted to its Facebook page for the first time in nearly 10 months, saying “We’ve been reluctant to share any information due to the uncertainty of our future. That has changed as of a couple of days ago. We do apologize to our customers. We did not mean to leave you out of the loop.”

Scardina has been looking for a new space in Riverwest since the business was shut down, refusing to reopen anywhere else. “The people here in Riverwest have been really good to us,” Scardina said. When the deli reopens, he said he wants to have a beer from each of the Riverwest breweries: Lakefront Brewery, Black Husky Brewing, Gathering Place Brewing Company and Company Brewing.

“I wouldn’t go anywhere else to do this,” Scardina said in February. “This is my place to be.”

The plan right now is to have the new deli open by midsummer, but it still plans to be a part of the first Locust Street Festival – Sunday, June 12 – since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

One thought on “Scardina Specialties New Deli is Official”

  1. kmurphy724 says:

    Wonderful news!

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