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Hope Deli to host free Easter Sunday lunch

Memphis restaurant welcomes public to dine

By Barb Pert Templeton

When the calendar rolls around to another holiday but you don’t have family nearby or a place to go for a meal it can put a damper on any celebration. 

Patrick Thompson, a native of Arkansas who doesn’t have any family nearby, knows that feeling of loneliness and wants to provide an alternative to people in his community. 

It’s actually one of the reasons he opened his unique little non-profit restaurant, HOPE (Helping Other People Eat) Deli off Bordman Road in Memphis on April 4, the other is a desire to feed those in need.

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Now he’s inviting the public to a free Easter Holiday Lunch at his deli that will include ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, green beans, and rolls. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Hope Deli/Facebook
HOPE Deli in Memphis, will offer a free Easter Holiday Lunch on Sunday, April 17.

“Somebody just walked in here and donated two hams for our Easter so I’ll be using those,” Thompson smiled.

Day to day the shop boasts a menu with no prices. Customers are welcome to pay what they can afford, pay what they would for a similar lunch elsewhere, pay more in order to pay it forward, not pay at all or offer to volunteer for an hour of washing dishes to cover their meal.

Thompson originally planned to open a HOPE Deli in Mt. Clemens but when the pandemic hit the plan was stalled. As things took a turn for the better the landlord announced a rent increase of $2,000 a month. Unable to fund that increase, he began looking for other options and found a welcoming community in Memphis that encouraged him to set up shop there.

Photo Courtesy of Hope Deli/Facebook
The HOPE (Helping Other People Eat) Deli just opened for business inside the Memphis Pub on April 4. The location, used to known as Boomers Tavern, renovated a special area for the deli that keeps it totally separate from the pub.

“I was thinking of what to do and I don’t know how to cook but I thought I can make sandwiches so I’ll do that,” Thompson said.

The menu includes sandwiches, chips, and Faygo pop so far but Thompson wants to add soups and coleslaw in the near future.

Thompson’s background includes earning a degree in English and he had considered teaching but soon found himself working at places like Subway and Mcdonald’s instead. It was okay though because it turns out they prepared him for running his own little shop.

Realizing there are already several restaurants in downtown Memphis, including Donut Girls and Doghouse Tavern, Thompson said he isn’t there to hurt those businesses and in fact plans to offer his customers gift cards for those establishments soon. 

“I don’t want to be taking business from any of those people I want to say if you come in my place and give it a chance here’s a gift card go to try the others,” Thompson said.

He funds the deli through his work with the Michigan Charity Sports League which creates competitions and tournaments for local athletes.

Marking his eighth day in business in Memphis, Thompson said he’s getting the hang of things.

“It’s been slow but that’s okay because it’s allowing me to get my footing,” he said.

For now, HOPE Deli is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, the exception being this Sunday’s, Easter lunch.

HOPE Deli is located at 35005 Bordman Road in Memphis. 

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