Restaurateur Richard Rogers had no idea how well a sandwich shop in downtown Wetumpka would be received.
He had his answer three days after opening Copper House Deli’s doors to the public last week.
“In three days, we sold over 400 sandwiches, over 100 dishes of banana pudding and we are averaging around 22 customers an hour,” Rogers said.
“We managed the crowd during our preopening. The day we opened to the public we had no idea we would have people lined up waiting outside to get inside.”
According to Rogers, Copper House Deli seats 24 people inside. He has plans to add 10 more seats with tables outside.
A combination of a newly-opened business, large lunch crowd, small, yet quaint, eating space, and sandwiches made to order have resulted in customers patiently waiting to get the chance to try a Copper House Deli sandwich for the first time.
“Our principle is to slice meat and cheese daily,” Rogers said. “With that, it takes time and effort to keep fresh meat and cheese coming. We do not store it in a freezer. We do not have a big walk-in freezer. Everything is pretty much fresh.”
According to Rogers, the deli’s top-selling Lock 31 sandwich is a prime example of the deli’s desire to use fresh ingredients. The smoked brisket is supplied by a local restaurant every morning.
The same goes for the banana pudding. It is sourced daily, sometimes twice a day, depending on how many are sold.
“I like the food a lot,” Wayne Parducci said as he finished the last few bites of a Fort Toulouse Muffuletta. “It’s fresh. The meat is really good and the psycho pickles are spicy.”
Parducci exclaimed he would “absolutely” return to the local eatery.“My friend Steve Lee did all the artwork, painting, signage, the mural and copper leaf,” Parducci said.
While the food served up by Rogers and his staff is what brings in the customers, the look and feel of the space has its own unique wow factor.
“We bought the building four years ago,” Rogers said. “It was just an abandoned piece of property. I’m a huge fan of sandwiches and took a lot of what I built here based on Scott Street Deli in Montgomery. I wanted a small and quaint space.
"I really want people to know this was a family affair to get the deli open. It really is a mom and pop establishment."
The rustic copper theme can be found throughout the space, from the floor that is made of 177,000 pennies to the copper leaf treatments and even the reclaimed tabletops refinished in a copper color.
Since Rogers owned the building and worked a full-time job the progress to rehab a 100-plus-year-old piece of property took time.
“We started in February 2017 with the concept,” he said. “Here we are today. A little over two years later we are open.”
As for why Rogers wanted to open a deli in the heart of downtown Wetumpka, he just had a feeling that was the right business for this particular space.
“Even my family and friends asked me what I knew about restaurants,” he said. “I don’t know anything about them. I just had a feeling a corner sandwich shop would do well.”
According to Rogers, operating hours vary at the moment.
“Unofficially we will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but we have been closing for a couple of hours in the afternoons to restock,” he announced on the deli’s Facebook page last week.
Menu items range in price from $5.95 for a basic sandwich with turkey or ham and increase in price up to $8.95 for a signature sandwich. The addition of a drink and chips is an extra $2.
Copper House Deli is located at 100 E. Bridge St.