Big Dave’s Deli Makes Sure Guests Don’t Leave Hungry
Writer: Matt Keating
Photographer: Amy Payne
If you leave Big Dave’s Deli & Meats hungry, it’s your fault.
That’s a motto Co-Owners Carol Plopper and Syd Latina strictly adhere to. Since they took over the popular business at 1225 W. Oak Street, Zionsville, they make sure no guest leaves feeling hungry.
On a recent frigid winter morning with temperatures hovering near zero degrees, they kept their guests warm with full cups of hot coffee and a delicious array of breakfast and lunch items to choose from.
Loyal customers tell Plopper and Latina to keep warm on their way out and say they will be back soon.
“One of the big things we wanted to do when we took over Big Dave’s was to keep things the same as much as we could,” Plopper says. “If it isn’t broke, you don’t need to fix it. People love the food and the atmosphere, and that has remained. The guests continued to accept us. We kept everything casual and sociable.”
Plopper and Latina bought the business in August, 2016, from its original owner, Dave Chapman, who still comes in almost every day to work and see all his friends.
“When we heard he was retiring, we were worried that it would close,” Plopper says. “Zionsville wouldn’t be Zionsville without Big Dave’s. It’s a big deal. We wanted to carry it on.”
They are also glad that Chapman is still heavily involved.
“He loves this place, and we love having him here, and so do the customers,” Plopper says. “They are his family. It’s like he really hasn’t retired. He still loves to cut all of the deli meats and talk to everyone.”
Plopper loves cooking the food, while Latina and Chapman enjoy cutting the different selections of ham, salami, turkey, roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, liverwurst and Bologna.
“I always wanted to be a butcher, and I always loved this place, because it has such a friendly neighborhood environment,” Latina says. “We are popular all year round, but we were really busy during the Christmas holiday. We sold 285 tenderloins. We also sold a lot of meat and cheese trays. People also love to come in for breakfast and lunch to eat and visit with friends.”
Some of the successful breakfast items include Big Dave’s Breakfast Sandwich with egg, ham, bacon and cheese and hash browns on a fresh- baked sub roll.
“That’s a big hit,” Plopper says. “People really love that. Our bagels and ‘Build Your Own’ breakfast sandwiches are also popular.”
Big Dave’s also has a “Farmer’s Breakfast,” with sausage, gravy and two eggs, any style, on top of hash browns, and The City Farmer, a half portion of The Farmer’s Breakfast. Guests also love The Big Boy Breakfast with two eggs, any style, with a choice of bacon, ham, sausage or Taylor pork, hash browns and two pancakes.
The pancakes, eggs, bacon, omelets and muffins are also popular, but the delicious cinnamon rolls are really a hit.
“They are no joke,” Plopper says. “Our guests keep coming back for more. There are a lot of people who love the cinnamon rolls, and come in to get those or their other favorites every day. All of our baking is done in house.”
Lunch items include The Z-ville Melt, with ham, turkey, bacon, provolone, lettuce, tomato and Bistro sauce on a fresh-baked sub roll, The Oak Center Melt, a grilled chicken breast with bacon, Swiss cheese, ranch dressing, lettuce and tomato and The Traditional Reuben, with hot corned beef, thousand island dressing, and sauerkraut on grilled marble rye.
“The Rueben is a serious favorite,” Plopper says. “People love our sandwiches because we use Boar’s Head meats, and they are all flavorful and lean.” Guests are also able to choose their own meats for their sandwiches.
Other customer favorites include The Eagle Philly Cheese Steak with grilled roast beef, green peppers and onions with provolone on a fresh baked sub roll and Zach’s Patty Melt, a grilled hamburger patty with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and 1000 Island dressing on marble rye.
“The steak burgers are ground fresh and the Zionsville High School kids love them,” Latina says. “They will come in after school and eat two of the Patty Melts. We get a lot of kids and staff from the school which has been great. They are very supportive, just like the rest of the Zionsville community. We have been very lucky. We are able to do what we love to do.”