Late last year, vegan trailblazer Shannon Martinez moved her beloved Smith & Deli from its original home on Moor Street in Fitzroy to Cambridge Street in Collingwood.

But Melbourne sandwich royalty has swooped in to continue the site’s deli legacy.

At the end of April, Hector’s Deli – now with locations in Richmond and South Melbourne – is moving in to the backstreet spot.

“It’s fucking exciting,” Hector’s co-owner Dom Wilton tells Broadsheet. “Shannon’s a friend … and when I thought about opening Hector’s on the north side, I always said I wanted something exactly like Smith & Deli. I didn’t want it to be right on a main street, it had to be character-filled [and] with a pre-existing sense of community.”

He’s got his wish. And while the plan is to preserve the red-brick exterior, leading local interior-design firm Hecker Guthrie will completely gut, and reimagine, the interior.

Menu-wise, in an ode to the building’s plant-based history, Wilton says there’ll be a couple of vegan options. And, for the first time, Hector’s will serve beer on tap.

Hector’s Deli is opening at 111 Moor Street, Fitzroy in late April.