Rex's Deli takes long history down road
to new location in Harper Woods
Journal Register Newspapers/DAVID N. POSAVETZ Margaret and Rex Zink (standing), often personally greet customers at their new location in Harper Woods.
By AMANDA LEE | Oakland Press News
POSTED: 01/06/11, 12:01 AM EST
Moving a long-held family business is always a daunting task. For Rex's Deli owner Rex Zink, it was not only scary, but necessary.
"Basically, what happened was that they raised the rent at my old building," Zink said. "We thought about it and realized that it would be better if we actually owned the building where the deli was going to be."
Zink, who owned Rex's Deli in Eastpointe for the past 17 years, recently moved his restaurant a quarter mile down the road across from Eastland Mall in Harper Woods.
"It was a lot of work, but basically I think it was a great move for us," he said.
A family business, Zink works alongside his wife, Margaret, and children, Elizabeth and Sam.
"I think that is what a lot of our customers love about us," Zink said.
"It feels like a great big family when they come to eat."
As a bonus of the new location, Zink says that he has already seen an increase in foot traffic.
"Basically, it's just a better space, it is more open and easy to see," he said. "We've had new people come in that said they had no idea we were here because before we were kind of tucked away in the back and not as easy to see."
In addition to the new customers, Zink says that he has retained his older patrons as well.
"I'd say we've seen about 90 percent of our regulars already," Zink said.
"Since we opened on Dec. 19, I think that's pretty good." Zink, who has been in the deli business for 30 years, started out at Lefkofsky's Deli at Nine and Kelly before moving to the previous location at Eight Mile and Kelly and changing the name several times before settling on Rex's Deli.
The deli has become known throughout the area for its homemade food, something Zink says his family prides itself on.
"We don't do anything halfway," he said. "We make our own soups from scratch, including the noodles for the chicken noodle soup. We order our pastrami from New York and our corned beef from Chicago. We don't want to cut corners."
Customers in the area agree, including Jason Starke, 36, who says he's been coming into the deli for as long as he can remember.
"I don't even know when the first time I went in was," he said. "I just know I come in like once a week because I love soup and they have the best soup."
Rex's Deli is at 19101 Vernier, at Eight Mile