Hen’s Deli will be opening its doors beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22 in the former Soup Brothers location at 209 W. Florida St., serving up a menu that includes breakfast sandwiches, bagels and a variety of sandwiches.
Take a peek
With assistance from building owners Caroline and Paul Rubitsky, Hen’s Deli owners Chef Lucas McDonald and Vivian Sotolongo have transformed the space, filling the kitchen with new equipment and changing the look and feel of the space.
A wash of dusky green paint covers the walls, accented with red trim. Meanwhile eye-catching black and white floor tiles bleed through the dining room and kitchen.
“The Rubitskys have stock in the neighborhood and in the building, so they were excited to give the space a fresh start,” says McDonald. “They really did more than they had to do to rehab the space. So, we were able to focus primarily on equipment, inspections and general clean-up in the space.”
In lieu of the quirky tchotchkes that covered the walls at Soup Brothers, guests will find a collection of antiques which Sotolongo and McDonald have collected over the years, including a vintage Dayton-Hobart scale they found in Sturtevant resting atop a sewing machine base they upcycled from a shop in Waukesha.
In the corner, there’s an antique chalkboard sign, where they will post daily specials and homey seating inside the restaurant’s southerly alcove.
Meanwhile, a rustic glass art piece which once adorned the couples’ porch, now hangs behind the service counter.
The counter itself was hand built by McDonald and his brother who used a display cabinet from the former Fuel Cafe, along with upcycled rustic wood to create a display case and counter. The glass in the display case – which resembles a hen house – was crafted with a repurposed storm window from Burleigh Glass.
On the menu
Those who are familiar with the offerings from Clarke Street Sausage Co., the pop-up shop from which Hen’s Deli was derived, won’t be surprised by the menu which includes a variety of staples previously served at farmers markets and pop-ups at The Daily Bird.
Breakfast staples will include housemade bagels (served with regular or vegan cream cheese) and bagel breakfast sandwiches filled with eggs and American cheese (add bacon or sausage for a slight upcharge). The Bagel Levantine will feature a curry bagel topped with tabbouleh, baba ganoush, pickled onions and tahini labneh.
Specialty sandwiches will include a housemade pork pastrami sandwich topped with pickled onions, Swiss cheese and horseradish mayo on a hamburger bun; and the Torte carne especial featuring pork tongue, pinto beans, lettuce, tomato, mayo, avocado and pickled jalapenos.
Hen’s Deli will also offer a selection of subs including American (bologna, summer sausage, American cheese and potato chips), Italian (capicola, soppressata and provolone) and the Club Sub (ham, turkey, bacon, Swiss). Each sub can be decked out with guests’ choice of toppings including lettuce, tomato, onion, Miracle Whip, horseradish mayo, house dressing, mustard and hot, mild or giardiniera peppers.
Moving forward, guests can also watch out for items like housemade lox and sausages as well as specials, which will be available on a limited basis until sold out.
Hen’s Deli will be open Dec. 22 and Dec. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The shop will be closed Dec. 24-25, but will reopen on Dec. 27 with regular hours Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.