For years, 4th Avenue Delicatessen has been a favored location for sandwich lovers, UArizona students, and those who frequent the street fair. The shotgun deli has a reputation for its mobster- and outlaw-themed sandwiches and has appealed to many new and regular customers throughout its time on the avenue.
When the news broke that the deli was going to close after six years in business, there was an outcry in the city, but it didn’t take long before dedicated employee Kylie Myers stepped up.
Myers, who worked part-time at 4th Ave. Deli for two-and-a-half years, purchased and reopened the deli on New Year’s Eve, after its closure earlier that month.
“When Austin Counts decided he wanted to sell the deli and pursue a career change, I started thinking seriously about how I’ve always wanted my own restaurant,” Myers said. “I’ve always been in the industry and the more I talked about it with Austin, the more we felt like me taking over would be a great idea.”
Myers has been on the restaurant scene for 13 years. She's worked as a prep cook, line cook, server, bartender, kitchen manager, FOH manager and was the bar and restaurant manager at Royal Sun Restaurant & Lounge for eight years, leading up to the 4th Ave. Deli takeover.
“Royal Sun has been a great place to work and I still bartend there a couple of nights a week and book the live music,” said Myers. “It was just time for me to step down from my full-time position there and do my own thing.”
Myers feels fortunate to take ownership of a place that is already established and recognized around town. This easy transition gave her more time to focus on getting good, local food back into the belly of Fourth Avenue.
Along with its affordability and convenience, the 833-square-foot restaurant is known for satisfying sandwiches and hotdogs, and its delightful desserts. The menu will remain the same, with just a few additions in hopes of casting a wider net for customer interest.
The walls are covered with classic photos of music and sports icons ranging from Jimi Hendrix to Muhammad Ali, and they play time-honored VHS movies on a small TV for your enjoyment.
One of the menu additions, The Godfather, is a tribute to Counts—he made it for himself when he ran the deli.
It features an eight-inch, toasted Sicilian hoagie spread with mayo and topped with Genoa salami, turkey slices, a giardiniera mix, sweet cherry peppers, tomatoes, crispy lettuce, oil, vinegar, and Italian herbs.
Along with The Godfather, Myers has started featuring monthly sandwich specials and a grab-and-go fridge with sandwiches and salads made fresh each morning. She has also partnered with Uber Eats to bring food directly to you.
The lettuce wrap option for cold sandwiches will still be available along with the Wildcat Special—a meatball sub or hot pastrami sandwich with chips and a drink for $8.50 with a CatCard.
In terms of desserts, Myers is working with local pastry chefs to bring you classic cannoli and black and white cookies. Cheesecake and Grandma Jones’ Sweet Potato Pie have also been added to the menu.
Myers wants to carry on with what was already in place at the deli. “Austin had a good thing going here," she said. "It’s a great little place that people love and I don’t want to change that.”
For Myers, taking over 4th Ave. Deli was something she felt unquestionably prepared for as a result of her comprehensive scope of experience in the industry. If you have never been, now is your chance. If you haven’t been in since the reopening, it's time—things are only getting better.
4th Ave. Deli, located at 425 N. 4th Ave., is open from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily. However, hours are subject to change to cater to the late-night bar crowd and slower Sunday evenings.
Jake O’Rourke is a Tucson native, writer, editor, and musician. He enjoys tasting his way through Tucson’s copious food and craft beer options, listening to live music, and writing about the experiences he has within these endeavors.