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Former Cheshire Deli Owner Stacks up Memories

Customers remembered by favorite food, if not by name.

Marilyn's Deli owner Dawn King brought the steamed cheeseburger to Cheshire in 1995. It continued to be a popular item after she sold the business to Owen Pritchard who ran Owen's Main Street Deli until it closed in late January.

"A decade ago running the deli was alot of hard work and many hours. However, I believe much easier than today," King wrote in an email. "I believe now with the influx of franchises and the cost to do business in Cheshire, it's almost impossible for a 'Mom and Pop' business to survive," she said.

King contacted Cheshire Patch when the closing of Owen's Deli at 912 S. Main St. was reported. "Very sad," she wrote on Cheshire Patch Facebook. "It's just a shame knowing all the hard work that he put into it. I wish Owen and his family health, happiness and success in this new chapter of their lives. Sad loss for Cheshire," she wrote.

Cheshire Patch Facebook reader Lisa Beauregard VanValkenburg noted that Owen's was the first place she ate while painting and moving into her Cheshire house almost 5 years ago.

King said her business grew by word of mouth and by offering plenty of good, affordable food.

"I had a few inexpensive lunch items that were great sellers. I had a $2.00 double egg sandwich (I got my eggs delivered daily from a local farm) and for lunch $1.00 Hummel hotdogs and a ham sub for $3.00. Customer favorites were our chicken cutlets,roast beef and daily specials which always included soup," King wrote.

With two teen sons who played sports, King said the always hungry athletes helped spread the word. "I fed the high school football team daily and in return those boys provided me with free advertising - everytime they'd get interviewed for the paper they'd always plug the deli as the place they 'had to eat' before their games. I received so much community support back in the day," she noted.

King named the deli after her mother who died at 49. She continued to operate it until 2002. King now lives in Hamden.

"The regulars would always call ahead to have us put aside their food (specials of the day) because they knew it wouldn't be around too long," King wrote.

"To this day I remember most people not by name, but by what they ate," King added.

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