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New Charles City sandwich shop opens in former Taco John’s building

New Charles City sandwich shop opens in former Taco John’s building
Presenting a new choice in Charles City lunchtime eating is Zolton Zorzi, who this week opened Max’s Delicatessen in the former Taco John’s building on Gilbert Street. Zorzi is holding two loaves of freshly made sourdough bread, the start of all his sandwiches. Press photo by Travis Fischer
By Travis Fischer, [email protected]

There’s a new place in Charles City for the lunch crowd to try as Max’s Delicatessen is now open for business.

“We have been super slammed,” said owner Zolton Zorzi, who has spent the last week guiding his new sandwich shop through the growing pains of opening.

Named after his dog, Max’s Delicatessen is set up in the former Taco John’s building, which was vacated last year.

The building re-opened on Sunday, Jan. 15, and Zorzi said he has been selling about 70 sandwiches a day since then.

New Charles City sandwich shop opens in former Taco John’s building
Max’s Delicatessen opened in the former Taco John’s building on Gilbert Street this week.

A California native, Zorzi moved to Charles City from Sacramento in 2021, deciding to relocate after visiting his mother, who had moved to town years earlier.

“She kept telling me ‘you need to move here, you’ll love it,’ ” said Zorzi. He eventually took her advice, bringing years of catering experience with him.

When he saw that the former Taco John’s building was up for sale, he started pondering the possibilities and discussing those possibilities at the Pub On the Cedar with Pub owner Nate Skuster.

Zorzi said he isn’t sure if Skuster already had eyes on the building beforehand, but he said that Skuster surprised him by calling him and informing Zorzi that Skuster had just bought the building with plans to put Zorzi in it.

After making a trip to Sacramento to get his equipment, Zorzi started getting the building ready for business.

Serving up a limited variety of sandwiches on freshly made sourdough bread, Zorzi is taking things slow as he, with the help of volunteer friends, works the kinks out of the new business.

He said it hasn’t always run smoothly as they deal with developing a workflow process, learning social media, and finding enough ingredients to meet demand, but Zorzi hopes these things will level out over time.

Focused on offering the freshest food possible, Zorzi said he is adamant about finding quality ingredients, even if it means taking an item off the menu for a while. Finding locally sourced ingredients wherever possible is also a priority and all of the bread is made on site using Zorzi’s own 35-year-old sour bread dough starter.

“Everything is fresh made,” said Zorzi. “I’m very picky.”

Open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays, the shop has seven menu items right now, but Zorzi said he plans on expanding the menu in the future to include soups and pastas.

Initial sandwich offerings this week have included pastrami, salami, grilled chicken, grilled pork, grilled turkey, panko-crusted eggplant and even Zorzi’s version of a grilled cheese sandwich. All sandwiches are served with choice of pan roasted potatoes or house salad.

The drive-through window will also be utilized for pick-up orders in the near future.

In the meantime, Zorzi is focused on getting the basics up and going and hiring extra hands to help out.

“We’re learning a new business,” said Zorzi. “We’re all just trying to get it together and find our groove.”

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