Chehalis Deli, Inc.
Home of the Bearcat

About Us

Who would have ever thought two sisters, one a transit bus driver and the other a counselor at Maple Lane, 30 years ago could have started the Chehalis Deli?  Their Mother was a cook at the public schools and their Father a custodian for the schools.  Gail LeDuc Magnuson and Margie LeDuc Balsley Vonasch started the Chehalis Deli in March 1978.  Both of them held the roles as wife, mother, employee and so much more. 


Their niece Cindy LeDuc Jimmerson started the Centerville Deli in Centralia a few years before.  The sisters thought it would be a good idea to open a deli in Chehalis.  They both quit their jobs and started on their new adventure.  They started renting the actual site on Chehalis Avenue 30 years ago from Dencil Robertson, opening a bank account at Security State Bank and then the work began.  They were on a low budget and wanted to do most of the work themselves.  They got in and made the Deli simple.  They thought they could make a couple of sandwiches and a little potato salad.  They like their sandwiches warm and so they thought a microwave would do the trick for that.  When the menu was being thought up, Gail and Margie would be sitting around making up names and deciding what would taste good.  Then they would make up one of their concoctions and try it out on their family members to see if it was a keeper or not.  They have always kept their Mother’s potato salad recipe, their soups are homemade, and the dishes are still done by hand.  And when your order is ready your first name is called out.  This started on the first day of business.  Gail and Margie thought they would not be very busy, but to their amazement that was not the case.  The first day there were so many customers that they asked people what their name was to keep their food straight.  They called their brothers, their brothers’ wives and any other relative that could work that day.  It was incredible.  From then on mostly every one of their siblings, children, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc. has worked at the Deli in 30 years.   They told people to help themselves to their soup and their drinks.  They were so overwhelmed making their sandwiches, there was no way they could help them with anything else they needed.  One story goes that one of the sisters ran in the back to hide and said this is out of control!!


Some of the best memories over the years have been the people.  Through the years to present day, the people make the Deli a success.  From the morning coffee drinkers, to the fast pace half hour lunchers, to the special lunch deliveries, or a catered wedding or special event, each person has touched us in some way.  The sisters always had the thought we are here to serve you and what ever that is we will try to do.  You were always treated like family.  Sometimes that meant get it yourself or could you wait I am in the middle of an important story. 

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