New Deli Takes Over Pocket Produce in Clintonville
They technically, and quietly, opened back in February, but A Common Table is finally ready to celebrate their grand opening. A deli-slash-cafe, A Common Table has repurposed the space that once housed Pocket Produce in Clintonville.
Co-owner Josh Taylor acquired the space at 3496 N. High St. in August of 2018, but he’d had his heart set on a restaurant of his own since he entered the industry 24 years ago. With a background in corporate and local establishments, he brings a perspective to A Common Table focused on opportunistic evolution; there’s no telling how the restaurant will look over the course of its lifetime.
A Common Table initially started as a straight up deli concept, with a selection of cold cut and grilled sandwiches and a deli case full with purchasable meats by the pound. It’s since dropped the deli case and will soon add in an espresso bar, allowing Taylor to more quickly grow his margins.
“I’ve worked long enough in the industry, for new places that hang out and last a long time, and places that open up and are done in six months,” Taylor says, “and the places that are done in six months have a book that says, ‘This is the way it goes,’ and they don’t evolve or get better at what they’re doing.”
Being a deli, A Common Table’s menu revolves around sandwiches. They include a turkey & bacon, Reuben, veggie, vegan, buffalo chicken, and ham, among other options. It’s all rounded out with sides, including a three bean salad, pasta salad, broccoli coleslaw and roasted red pepper hummus; and a soup of the day. A cooler near the register offers pops, waters and other beverages.
Chef Mike Poston, who’s also got a corporate and local restaurant background, said each item, with the exception of the coleslaw, is prepared in-house and will soon be 100 percent Ohio-sourced. Although he’s seen concepts like traditional delis dying off, Poston envisions A Common Table representing a new restaurant format in a changing industry.
Speaking similarly to Taylor about evolution and change, Poston says A Common Table could soon be much more than a deli, but also a space usable by other aspiring restauranteurs. Whether someone wants A Common Table to execute a specific menu, or they want access to the kitchen to do it themselves, the deli is open to becoming a communal space.
“At the end of the day, I work with food and deal with people all day, every day. I’ve tried to think about it in a bigger picture concept, creating opportunity, or giving someone who loves to cook and wonders what it’d be like to open their own restaurant — ‘come in for a night and try it out,’” Poston says. “Maybe they have a craft or teach something — open the space for them too.”
Regardless of what it becomes, A Common Table is now open as a deli and cafe, operating from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
For more information, visit their website.