The Classic Crew
Jason & Jessica
The story behind how the owners, Jason & Jessica, came to own and operate The Classic Deli is a remarkable one.
Both were in the midst of major life changes and receptive to the possibility of change in their lives. Jessica, a long time Brooklyn resident, born and raised in Chelsea and working for Jody Clayton at The Classic Deli. Jason, moved from Colorado, grew up in Los Angeles, living on an airport in a trailer working as a skydiving instructor.
It was a chilly afternoon at the dropzone April 14th 2018 and Jess was bound and determined to make her first skydive to complete a bucket-list item and to simply step outside her comfort zone. Upon arriving, Jessica was assigned to Jason for the jump. After a quick briefing and beautiful sunset airplane ride to 10,000 feet, it was time to jump.
Jason recalls the level of anxiety she was pushing through. Thankfully she had just a bit more determination to see this adventure to the end. Once in the door, we were set. Once the door opened the cabin filled with freezing air and the noise was almost deafening. We blasted into the sunset colored sky and watched the earth in it's beauty while falling at 120 miles per hour towards it. The whole experience jumping with Jessica, he invited her back for a second jump free of charge. It brought a smile to Jason's face when she showed up to the airport for her second jump a few weeks later.
The relationship grew slowly over the spring and summer while they got to know a little more about each-other. It was until Jason started visiting Jessica at her workplace (The Classic Deli), The two of them would enjoy lunch in the restaurant when Jason wasn't skydiving at the airport. It was peaceful and serene until Jessica mentioned to Jason, that the Deli was for sale.
Jason, having only limited serving experience while growing up in Los Angeles, was always intrigued by the business of food service. Jess, an Army mom, working at The Classic for many years prior to this point, was ready for a shift. The timing was perfect to make this major decision in their lives, so they went for it.
The first year of ownership (2019) was FULL of lessons about how to run a restaurant. They learned everything from Apple Pie to Quarterly reports. Many painful mistakes were made in the first year which, at one critical juncture, had them both considering closing the doors. This was their restaurant owners - crash course and it tested them rightly! 100 plus hours a week working from before the sun rises to well after the sun sets. Staffing, schedule, payroll, inventory, marketing, customer service, etc... This hill was going to be steep!
The second year (2020) started with a bright outlook and quickly turned into one of the most devastating periods for restaurants globally. Nobody had a playbook for pandemics and food service, so they prepared to do a new dance. There was no shortage of new learning opportunities, also referred to as AFGO (Another F*#@^g Growth Opportunity). by the end of 2020