Deli Delights Await Pine Residents

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Pine Deli is both sleek and sentimental. Meats, cheeses and salads are displayed behind gleaming glass and chrome. Along with the music of Dean Martin, the smell of home-roasted meats and homemade soups fills the air.

"It's corny, but it gives the place the Italian flavor I grew up with," said Debbie Kroll, who owns the shop on Hardscrabble Mesa Road with her husband, Mike.

The Krolls opened Pine Deli in mid-October, about three months later than they had anticipated when they moved to the Rim country as full time residents in May.

"We had planned to open in July, but discovered this place didn't have any water or septic," Debbie said.

The couple comes from the food service industry and have no construction skills, she said. Debbie had worked in all the big delis in the Phoenix area, while Mike tended bar. So, getting the building ready for business was a major obstacle.

While building their business has been their biggest challenge, they said the people have been the greatest reward.

"The people are great," said Mike.

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Debbie Kroll has worked in most of the big delis in the Phoenix area, now she has her own shop in Pine. One of the most popular items sold is her chicken salad.

"We like working for ourselves and having some independence at work," Debbie said.

Mike also likes the slower pace and Debbie thinks the weather is rewarding too.

The couple has had a cabin in Pine for five years. Their work in the Valley allowed them to spend half the week in the Rim country and the other half on the job.

"It was harder and harder to go back," said Mike, "In May we decided not to go back."

Mike is responsible for the meats, Debbie makes the soups and salads. Debbie said the business has been well-received by the community, and some of their dishes are already emerging as favorites.

Late Thursday afternoon, she was already selling her third batch of chicken salad. Debbie said customers also like their rotisserie chickens, Philly steak sandwiches and pastrami sandwiches. Among the soups the customers seem to enjoy are the pasta fazoule, homemade chicken, green chile chicken and chili.

"Mike also makes pulled pork burritos," Debbie said. "It's the only burrito we make."

They use medium-size sub rolls and five ounces of meat on all their hot and cold sandwiches.

"No one leaves hungry," Debbie said.

The meats, cheeses and salads can also be bought by the pound. They have regular dinner specials, make party deli trays and cater full meals. Dinner specials include: meatloaf on Tuesday; an Italian dish Wednesday; and brisket with egg noodles and gravy on Thursday. The Krolls are still experimenting with their weekend specials. There are, however, already plans to sell smoked meats during the summer.

To prepare a deli tray or triple decker and sub sandwiches, they need 24 hours advance notice. For catering full meals 48 hours notice is needed, Debbie said.

Pine Deli is located at 6240 Hardscrabble Road, Pine. The hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, or to place an order, call (928) 476-3536.

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