Henry's Deli & Café offers a sandwich like none other
By RACHEL BRANT
Bremerton Patriot Staff writer
January 9, 2009 · Updated 10:05 AM
The Henry’s Deli & Café club sandwich weighs nearly a pound.
And with that much to offer in just one sandwich, it’s no wonder the club sandwich is the most popular item at the Bremerton deli.
H. John Bridger and David Johnson opened their first restaurant, Henry’s Deli & Café, on the first floor of the Norm Dicks Government Center on Sixth Street in October.
Bridger has more than 20 years of experience in the hotel and restaurant industries, while Johnson has more than 18 years of baking and cooking experience.
Bridger said he’s always wanted to open his own restaurant and the spot inside the government building was vacant, so he and Johnson jumped on it.
Bridger said there has been a couple restaurants in the location throughout the years, but he’s been told Henry’s Deli & Café is the most popular one to date.
“It’s been really well received,” he said.
He said a lot of their patrons work in the Norms Dick Government Center, but they are getting more and more people from outside the building stopping in for breakfast or lunch.
“At first, it was 90 percent of our customers were in the building and now I’d say it’s 50-50,” he said. “We haven’t done any advertising and we have a very loyal following.”
Bridger remembers serving 68 customers on their first day in business. Now, he said Henry’s Deli & Café feeds roughly 140-150 people a day.
Bridger said he and Johnson use only fresh ingredients to make their sandwiches, salads, soups and pastries at the European-style deli. They also buy local produce and ingredients when they can.
“We believe in going to farmers markets,” Bridger said.
Henry’s Deli & Café dishes are made with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses.
“Everything we do is made with high quality products,” Bridger said.
He added that their sandwiches are popular with customers and an average Henry’s Deli sandwich weighs anywhere from a half-pound to three-quarters-of-a-pound.
“They won’t get a sandwich like here anywhere else,” Bridger said. “We’re trying to raise the bar.”
Aside from their sandwiches, the macaroni and cheese is another popular dish at Henry’s Deli & Café, according to Bridger.
“We sell out of that every time we make it,” he said.
Henry’s Deli & Café also caters events and puts together pre-made meals that only need to be heated and served.
“For the quick, come and grab it and go,” Bridger said.
Bridger said everything made at Henry’s Deli & Café can be cooked up at home and all of their recipes come from cookbooks.
“We like to look at it as a working man’s deli,” he said.
Henry’s Deli & Café also raises money for local charities.
Bridger said he does not accept tips, so he and Johnson decided to set up a collection jar dedicated to one charity a month.
In their first month of business, Henry’s Deli & Café collected monetary donations for the Bremerton Foodline. Bridger said they raised about $700 for the local organization. They are currently collecting money for the Kitsap County HIV/AIDS Foundation.
“People are dropping $10 or $20 into the jar,” he said. “We want to give back to the community for what they have done for us.”
The business is doing so well that Bridger and Johnson are looking for another location to open a larger, sit-down restaurant.
“We’ve been pinching ourselves because we didn’t expect it to be like this at all,” Bridger said. “Sometimes I feel like I won the lottery.”