Food & Drink

Wilson’s in Kenwick is open again and wants to make you a sandwich

Wilson’s grocery is finally back in business for lunch. The Kenwick neighborhood market will have its grand reopening on Wednesday.

That had to be the dates, said manager Phil Swenson. “Our address is 1010 Cramer Avenue and the date’s 10/10,” he said.

The store quietly opened about a month ago for neighbors needing a few items and for after-school snacks, but the deli wasn’t up and running.

As of Wednesday, it will be, Swenson said, with a limited range of sandwiches at first. Earlier this month, Wilson’s added some breakfast sandwiches, which are available daily until they run out. Soon they will be adding country ham rolls, too.

“We’re going to have baloney, turkey and country ham, and expand once we get comfortable with that and let everybody know we’re back,” Swenson said. “We just couldn’t hold off any longer ... we have the stuff to make sandwiches, we want to get them to people.”

The bean soup and other lunch offerings will follow, he said.

“After we get the meat counter up and running, we’re going to expand to have hot plates for lunch and soups. We aren’t going to stick strictly to the old schedule of specials but we will incorporate new items as they are seasonally appropriate and work with what our meat counter has. ... Gotta have the bean soup and country ham salad.”

The coolers are refilled with sodas and the shelves are restocked with chips so painters, electricians and the other workers who used to flock to Wilson’s for lunch can safely return.

Swenson said they hope bring back the famous Wilson’s $2 baloney lunch special eventually. It all depends on his supply of chips and soda.

The store closed in February after longtime owners Roger D. and Jennifer H. Wilson, who lived above the store in an apartment for 25 years, sold the property and the business to Corey Maple. They refurbished the store’s interior, refinished the floors, . and posted a sign in the window saying, “Don’t worry Kenwick, Wilson’s will be back!”

Their hope was that this relic from another era could find a following that would allow it to stay economically viable.

They plan to have country ham, soup beans, hand-cut steaks, fresh eggs, bread from Sunrise Bakery, produce from local growers and eventually other offerings, plus corner store traditions: candy, chips, sodas and ice cream for kids and cheap beer for grown-ups.

“Kids coming in every day ... it’s kind of most amazing thing ... this neighborhood is still a true neighborhood,” he said. “Parents send their kids with after-school money and they come get a treat. ... They get to walk down here and get a treat and walk home at the end of the day.”