If you never had a sandwich from Natalia & Cristoforo’s Italian Deli, you may have missed the opportunity to sink your teeth into the best meat and cheese Corvallis had to offer. On Feb. 9, the deli released a bittersweet statement via Facebook: “After 17 years in business, it looks like the deli will be closing soon, and Greg will be moving on to some other opportunities. We don’t know if this is a forever closure—but it is needed at this time.” While this might have come as a shock to some patrons, particularly those who visited the deli regularly, it was a long time coming for owner and unforgettable sandwich slinger, Greg Leytem.
“I’ve been sitting in here making $80 a day,” Leytem said. “Ever since we had this election everybody’s quit spending money. We’re not the only business suffering.” This is a good reminder to buy local—if we don’t support those little mom and pop shops we love, they will keep disappearing. Leytem’s deli has been a Corvallis institution for 17 years. The son of a meat-cutter, Leytem got his passion for serving high-quality cuts and learned the importance of building customer relationships from his father.
“I’m extremely happy for my customers and the loyalty. I’ll miss every last one of them,” Leytem said. “This is tearing me up.”
Leytem guessed that the last day to buy sandwiches was on Feb. 11. He has until March 1 to unload all his perishable goods, so there’s still a chance to visit the quaint and friendly space one last time. Leytem might bring the sandwiches back some day, but they won’t be sold in a brick and mortar building. He’s thought about opening a food truck, but he would need to start a GoFundMe campaign to make it happen. As sales decreased, his debt increased and he’ll need to pay some of that off before he can think about his next venture in the food world. For now, Leytem has property in California he can rent out and a lot of neglected projects he’ll get to tackle with his extra time. He expects to make more money when he closes. Whenever—fingers crossed—Leytem decides to give the food truck a go, we’ll be there to support him. We hope you’ll be there, too.
Leytem is in the process of selling his equipment from the deli. If interested, please call 541-752-1114.
By Anika Lautenbach