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Mío Zio’s!

I don’t think that anyone could have expected the hungry masses that turned out for the opening of Zio’s Deli & Heroes on Elmwood Avenue today. That includes the owners and staff of the deli.

Around 1pm, a friend of mine rang me up, asking if I wanted to meet him over at Zio’s for lunch. It was the deli’s opening day, so I said sure. I wanted to see what they had done with the former Poster Art (see backstory).


When I arrived, I was surprised to see so many people at the counter ordering, while others stood and sat waiting for their orders to arrive. It was apparent that the buzz had gotten out that a deli had opened up on Elmwood – a street that has been deli-less since Joe’s closed. And Elmwood without a deli is pretty much unfathomable. That is why, I believe, so many people were clamoring to get a taste of the new operation.

Unfortunately, opening days can be tough, because it can be hard to gauge how many people will show up. Despite having at least 9 workers behind the counter, scrambling to fulfill the orders (that kept coming in), at around 2pm they simply ran out of food. They had just enough to accommodate those who had ordered, but signs were posted on both doors stating that they would need a couple of hours to recoup and refresh. Then, about 15 minutes after posting those initial signs, they posted updated signs stating that they would reopen the next day. Talk about a whirlwind first day in business!

While I did not get there in time to order any food, my friends who arrived earlier got their orders in on time, just under the buzzer. Regardless, I decided to hang out for a while, watching the commotion as the remaining orders were executed and doled out. I also got to see the disappointment in the eyes of customers that were still arriving, only to see the signs posted to the door. One employee, standing out on the sidewalk, was busy explaining to people what had happened, as he handed out menus.

As for the owners of Zio’s, I can only imagine what must be racing through their minds. Talk about off to the races. I knew that they were going to be a big hit with the Elmwood crowd, but I could not have guessed that people would be so amped up about the arrival of a new neighborhood deli.

“Bro” would be proud…

Despite running out of food, everything is looking up for Elmwood with the arrival of Zio’s Deli & Heroes. Having a deli on the street again is not only comforting, it’s also fitting. I’m sure that “Uncle Mark” would have approved of this new addition to his corner. It’s these types of authentic experiences that he would have eaten up.

Zio’s Deli & Heroes | 1055 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo NY | (716) 725-6347 | Facebook 

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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