On May 1st, 1975, in a tiny shopping center located in Rockville, MD Chuck & Sharon Rossler opened their doors to the public. The space wasn't ideal, if anything it was probably the last place you would think to put a deli. It was small, narrow, and lacking a ton of tables. But the one thing it had was Chuck Rossler and if Chuck knew one thing and one thing only, it was food.
What you had to understand about the 70's was there was no real code for restaurants. The ADA wouldn't be passed until 1990, fire codes were not as well established, and people actually thought Sanka was a tasty beverage (it was on our menu in the 70's, see menu shots further down). It was a different time where, compared to today's standards, it was like the wide west. The concepts and tenets by which restaurants are driven today were not the focus of many mom and pop shops during the 70's. Food costs, marketing experience, culinary degrees...these were not on Chuck's mind . He knew he could make good food, and so he did.
With his parents as business partners and his loving wife Sharon running the numbers, Chuck forged ahead and opened his very own deli gaining tons of experience along the way and learning the business through a trial by fire. But Chuck was prepared. His father, Milton Rossler, owned his own furniture business which helped guide Chuck into making intelligent business decisions. Chuck even STILL worked for his father as a traveling furniture salesman during the first years of the deli.
After all of these years with Chuck watching over the food and Sharon steering the ship, Celebrity Delly expanded from that little tiny store to Cabin John and to our current location in Falls Church, Va. Chuck also spent the time to teach his children the passion he had for food and instill that into his children. Over the past 27 years, Chuck and Sharon passed the torch to their daughter Julie & son Jon. Jon's passion lead him on a different path which brought him to open Corned Beef King in Maryland. His food truck is a staple in the area with thousands of followers. Chuck's cousin, Guy Brandt, opened his own passion project, Brooklyn's Deli in Seven Locks, Md after working with Chuck for so many of the beginning years of Celebrity Delly.
What remains a wonder is how Chuck really loved food and the passion it inspired around him. It inspired some amazing food and new shops. He knew food better than anyone and if you asked him, he'd tell you. Now, the Falls Church location is run by Julie & her husband William. We are reminded during our 45 year anniversary that Celebrity Delly has seen a lot. The gas crisis, stock markets crash, hurricanes, derechos, 9/11, pandemics...even the passing of Chuck.
That was the scariest moment Julie & I have ever had. The uncertainty of it all. We were lucky to get through it at all...but we got through it together. It reminds me of the times we're going through now. The unknown future, the fear of it all. But we are reminded of Chuck's passion for food. He didn't know a single thing about running a shop, but he knew food. In kind, we know nothing of what tomorrow will bring, but we do know food and we know that our food (Chuck's food) brings people together. We have been doing it for 45 years and we did it together. It's with this renewed passion and reminder that simply having a passion for something can get us through. So that is our plan. Whenever it is safe, we will push forward and provide you with the best food we can. You can still get some of our food via delivery by ordering HERE. We are still open for business.
In the meantime, we have been taking steps to prepare for reopening including:
A remodel of our bathrooms, lighting, music, ceiling, floors and more.
We have thermometers for our staff members, checking temperatures as employees come in for work.
New hand sanitization stations for guests and staff alike.
Face masks and gloves for all employees
Sanitization protocols every 15 mins of all contact surfaces.
It's with renewed passion we invite all of you back as soon as our doors are allowed to be opened back up for dine in guests. No matter in what capacity, we will be ready to serve you all. Who knows, maybe we can spread some more of Chuck's passion on to someone else and inspire them to make something amazing. In the end, isn't that what all of this is about? Inspiring others with your own passion? Perhaps Social Distancing is exactly what we needed. We needed it to remind us of why we do what we do. So, with that being said...these next 45 years are to you Chuck. You inspire us everyday. We love you.