Since reopening in January, the Gambier Deli has been a hit among Kenyon students. But some students see the Deli another way — that is, from the other side of the counter.
Sarah Aguilar ’19, Morgan Engmann ’20 and Elijah Newman ’22 are three of the Deli’s student employees. They were all hired in January, when the beloved sandwich spot returned from a hiatus of over a year. Engmann, who used to work at the bookstore, applied for a job at the Deli because she was attracted to the energetic environment.
“I like to make things and do things with my hands, so I thought it would be a fun change,” she said.
The responsibilities of student Deli employees include preparing food, cleaning the kitchen and eating area, washing dishes and working the register. In every task there’s a need for speed, due to the long lines of hungry customers during the lunch rush.
“I thought I was fast at doing dishes before at my old job, and then I came here and they were like, ‘No, you need to be faster,’” Engmann said. Aguilar also emphasized the stress of busy shifts, but added that “people know when they come to the Deli there’s gonna be a line.”
Despite the fast-paced setting, Engmann, Aguilar and Newman all agreed that the Deli was a great place for students to work. The Deli owners, Stu and Jeanne Poland, are accommodating of students’ academic lives, and encourage employees to schedule shifts around their class schedules.
“They checked in to see if I had a lot of work to do. I remember I was doing three shifts a week and they told me I shouldn’t be doing that,” Newman said.
Deli’s student employees serve members of the Kenyon community, including their own peers, which can be both fun and distracting.
“I talk to them too much. I have too many friends … I remember the first time I put on the apron, the first day of my job, everyone was laughing at me,” Newman said.
All three student employees felt that Kenyon students didn’t take full advantage of the menu.
“Sometimes people want a sandwich but will take out half of the things on the sandwich. Just build your own, you don’t need to pay for the specialty sandwich,” Aguilar said.
For people looking to try something new, Engmann recommended the tuna and egg salads, while Newman voiced his appreciation for the Deli’s vegetarian options. Aguilar said that sun-dried tomatoes were a delicious add-on.
Both Aguilar and Engmann were Kenyon students when the Deli was operating out of its old location. Aguilar pointed out one perk of the new space.
“When you would go to the Deli, you would smell like the Deli all day. But I guess there’s a new ventilation system,” Aguilar said. “The space is new, it’s cleaner. But there was a charm to the old Deli that hopefully this new Deli will have again.”