Contained in the mundane brown business park buildings off of Northeast 95th Street in Redmond are a slew of interesting local businesses who cater to locals and whose reach extends beyond the park.
One of these businesses is the Willows Deli, owned by Joe Ahn, who bought the restaurant in October 2015 from the previous owners. While he’s relatively new to the deli, he said it has been around for some 15 years.
It’s also the 28-year-old’s first crack at running his own shop, he said as he sat at a table covered in a classic checker-pattern table cloth.
“I always wanted to have my own business,” he said.
During college, he worked as a barista and said the coffee industry has always fascinated him.
But with a heavy saturation of coffee shops in the Seattle area, he decided to pursue a related business instead and bought the deli.
On top of getting his foot in the door with a business, Ahn said the Redmond location lets him work close to home.
He serves lunch and breakfast sandwiches, soups, salads and daily specials.
The turkey and avocado sandwich is a hot commodity as is his favorite, the southwest chicken sandwich.
Many of the items on the menu are holdovers from the previous owners, but Ahn has introduced some new daily special items such as curry.
The deli also provides catering, which Ahn said he would like to expand in the future, and he’s likely to add more menu items as well.
The experience of running his own business has been a lot of work, Ahn said.
While the deli is only open during the weekdays, Ahn said he ends up working during the weekend counting inventory and going shopping.
Staying on top of his business and using quality produce is important.
“We serve fresh, good quality food,” he said.
Ahn also said he hopes to get the word out that their deli is there for both business park patrons and the larger Redmond community.
Although it is somewhat removed from the downtown core, he said he still hopes to attract new customers.
“I just want people to actually know that we’re here,” he said.
A nearby deli closed recently in an adjacent business park, but Ahn said he wasn’t sure if their old customers knew where they were.
The deli is located at 14858 N.E. 95th St. in Redmond in the same business park as Hi-Fi Brewing.
Willows Deli is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.