After two generations, and more than two decades in business, Boynton Beach's favorite sandwich shop, Seaside Deli and Market, has new ownership. Former major league baseball shortstop Rafael Belliard recently purchased the market and convenience store from longtime owner (who asked that he not be named) and son Richie Podvesker.
Regulars know Seaside Deli's popular sandwich maker, Podvesker, as the true face of the Island-side shop located off A1A a half-mile south of Woolbright Road. He's been taking sub orders and creating one of the more than 30 signature menu items for the past 21 years -- most often for a line of 10 or more weaving through the market's narrow isles and out the door. The spot is so successful, it earned a spot on our top ten list of sandwich shops in South Florida, including our favorite, his top-selling sandwich. Priced beyond fair, many have enough ingredients to make a four-course meal, but are still less than $10 each. We had Podvesker make us his No. 13, which features thick-sliced turkey, thin-sliced roast beef, American cheese, chopped bacon, and house-made potato salad and coleslaw.
The idea that Podvesker won't be behind the deli counter at Seaside any longer has many patrons upset. But if you're one of them, don't worry. Podvesker assures Clean Plate Charlie he'll still be around. Over the next few months you can still find him behind the counter making your favorite sandwich as he trains the new team to recreate his recipes, follow current product sourcing, and properly assemble each menu item.
"I'll still be here helping to train everyone and make sure everything stays the way it is now," said Podvesker, who admits the final parting will be bittersweet. "I've been doing this a long, long time. But I'm ready to hand over the reigns. I'm excited to get out and have more time [for myself]."
Belliard, who lives in Boca Raton with his family including new store manager and son Kevin Belliard, has pledged to keep Seaside exactly the same. As part of the purchase, he requested Podvesker stay on board to help ensure the deli operates just as it has for the past two decades. That means you can still find all 38 special sandwiches created by Podvesker himself; purchase one of more than 150 craft beers; select a nice merlot to go with a take-home prepared dinners; grab a Sprecher's fire-brewed root beer or specialty sodas; and that bottle of sunscreen or a pack of batteries before the beach.
Just in case you were wondering, the market's name, celebrity signature framed photos, interior decor and music won't be going anywhere, either, said Belliard.
"The deli has been here a long time and been very successful," Kevin told the Coastal Star. "We're keeping everything the same."
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.