“A lot of the definitions of [a deli] are a place where you can get milk and eggs, and we’re not doing any of those things,” Marco Santos says, laughing.
In a matter of weeks, with his mother Cristina and father Nelson, Marco will revive a 136-year-old general store in Norwood to its former glory as The Lost Deli.
While converting the space, Marco found discarded Farmers Union Iced Coffee placards patching the walls and being used as temporary flooring, but these are the only examples of standard deli fare inside the building.
Marco is vegan and Cristina is coeliac, and they’re both acutely aware of how difficult it can be to dine in Adelaide with dietary requirements. The Lost Deli’s focus is on healthy, organic and diet-restriction-friendly food.
Salads will be based on what’s in season, and Marco will offer lasagnas, vegetable bakes and soups in the winter. “We can actually make pastas and soups creamier without using any cream; we’ve got a few tricks that we’ve been mastering,” he says.
The Santos family last worked together at Ruby’s Organic Café before Marco cut his teeth at The Essence in Stirling and Cherry Darlings Bakehouse, a “cruelty-free” bakery in Forestville.
With a limited seating capacity of 20 people, The Lost Deli will focus on takeaway, which fits the ethos of the business: making healthy food more convenient.
Marco will also only serve alternative-milk coffees, and in order to convert any non-believers, the first coffee is on the house.
“I’ve been making coffee for 10 years, and I’ve been drinking only soy for 10 years, so I make probably the best soy coffee you’ll ever have,” Marco says.
The Lost Deli will open later this month.