A new deli is coming to Old Louisville this week, and the duo behind the venture has a proven track record of operating popular restaurants in the historic neighborhood.
On Wednesday morning, The Toonerville Deli is slated to open in the building formerly occupied by Ermin’s Bakery and Cafe. Daniel Borsch, owner of Old Louisville restaurants Burger Boy Diner and Old Louisville Tavern, recently purchased the building at the corner of First and Oak streets, where Ermin’s operated until last week.
“The plan is to get open, see exactly what the market is interested in, and start expanding from there,” Borsch tells Insider Louisville.
Borsch is opening Toonerville with Scott Lukemire, who also co-owns Old Louisville Tavern.
Though the pair will continue serving a few Ermin’s classics, Toonerville will offer a brand new menu specializing in hot deli sandwiches, like Reubens, along with house-made bagels. The deli also will make its soups and sauces from scratch.
Because Ermin’s was a bakery in addition to a cafe, Borsch says he acquired a lot of baking equipment in the purchase that he eventually hopes to put to good use.
Toonerville Deli will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. An official Facebook page is coming soon.
When asked why he’s chosen to open three restaurants in the same historic neighborhood, Borsch says simply, “I love Old Louisville. I just fell in love with this neighborhood when I moved back to town.” (Though he also admits having the businesses in close proximity to each other makes sense logistically, allowing him to split his time between the three as needed.)
In 2008, Borsch bought the iconic Burger Boy Diner (formerly Juanita’s Burger Boy) at 1450 S. Brook St.
In June 2013, Borsch bought the Old Louisville Tavern, completely revamped the menu, and performed extensive renovations. A year later, an arsonist set fire to the tavern, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
The neighborhood restaurant and watering hole has remained shuttered ever since, raising questions as to whether Borsch and Lukemire would reopen.
Good news from Borsch on that front: “Crews are over there working now… We are hoping Old Louisville Tavern will reopen by the end of March, and when we reopen we’ll have an expanded menu.”
Eventually, Borsch hopes to serve up some Old Louisville Tavern fare as specials at The Toonerville Deli.