Not your average deli: French chef adds flair to standard deli fare


Rick’s Deli & Market offers a pleasing variety of savory and sweet, specializing in deli fare and French desserts. Photo: Amanda Ross

If you dream of eating a classic Reuben sandwich and a dainty French macaroon in the same meal, head to Rick’s Deli & Market located in the heart of downtown Greenville.

Opened in February 2013, this lunch and dinner spot is the third in business owner Rick Erwin’s series of Greenville restaurants, which include Rick’s Nantucket Seafood and Rick’s West End Grille.

And this third time is a charm. The restaurant is divided between a deli and a market, but no quality is lost in the process.

The deli offers 13 sandwiches, including the classic Reuben, pimento cheese melt, hot pastrami and vegetarian. Sandwiches cost $8 to $11 and include a side item. Salads range from classic to exotic, including Greek salad, tomato caprese, tuna salad, shrimp salad, egg salad, tabouli salad and rotini salad. Dinner items include chicken Alfredo, herb encrusted salmon, baked lasagna and roasted pork loin.

Although the deli sandwiches are their signature items, the market and bakery are a sight — and smell — to behold. The centerpiece of the restaurant is a display shelf with rows of cheeses, spices, honey and pasta. Then you hit the bakery. Lining the glass case are rows and rows of pink, green and brown macaroons — another signature item. Next to these little French treats are stacks of éclairs, key lime pies, peanut butter cake and chocolate mousse.

These delicate food creations all point to an expert chef. Indeed, executive chef Emmanuel Hodencq has a Michelin star, which he earned at his restaurant in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Begun in France in 1900, the Michelin Guide is one of the most popular restaurant guides in the world. According to a 2014 Michelin press release, France now has 504 one-star restaurants. This number is unusually high considering the anonymity of their full-time, hard-to-impress professional restaurant inspectors. Throughout the world, the Michelin star is a coveted recognition only awarded to the best of the best in the restaurant business. And Hodencq, a Michelin star holder, is close enough to visit on a lunch break. What a treat!

Despite the world-class French chef in the back kitchen, the atmosphere is relaxed, with light, nostalgic music playing in the background and large windows offering a pleasant street view.

Junior studio art major Alyssa Beck recently ordered the Cuban sandwich and a green pistachio-flavored macaroon. She gives the sandwich two thumbs up for size and taste, but said the macaroon was the highlight. “It tastes as good as cake and looks as cute as a kitten,” she joked.

Beck said the extensive deli and dessert menu, as well as the casual atmosphere, make this corner restaurant ideal for a relaxed meal with friends. “All of the sandwiches and desserts looked amazing,” she said. “I think it would be a great place for friends to just drop by for a quick treat before resuming their window shopping.”

Rick’s Market & Deli is located near the Hampton Inn & Suites at 101 W. Camperdown Way in Greenville. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is closed on Sundays.