Manhattan College has been bringing business to Riverdale since the 1920s. The concentrated student population brings a large demand for stores, restaurants and entertainment. Living a late night life style, college students often go to one of three different local delis located right here in the neighborhood.
If you are craving a burger with a side of curly fries at 3:00 a.m. and Burger King isn’t going to cut it, you head over to Jasper Deli, Best Deli or Sandwich King 2. All three delis offer late night accommodations, takeout and delivery services. Along with that, they all accept the convenient Jasper Dining Dollars.
The delis get relatively even competition from each other because their menus and locations are so different. Jasper’s Deli receives slightly more business from college students over Riverdale residents compared to the rest of the delis.
According to Jay Aowas, a Jasper’s Deli employee, roughly 85 percent of customers are college students and Friday nights between 8:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. are their busiest hours. This is because their location is on the way back to campus from the local bars and fraternities.
“Jasper’s Deli has been around for eight years. I think the Jasper Dining Dollars are good for business because it allows the students to spend more money here,” Aowas said. “Our most popular item on the menu is the Tom Kelly, but I recommend the loaded fries.
Sandwich King 2 is also in a convenient location, right by the 1 train. Because of this, Layla Bian, a Sandwich King 2 employee, estimates about 50 percent of their customers are students and 50 percent are commuters going to and coming from work.
“Our first location is in Mount Vernon but this location came here about a year ago. We got the machine from Manhattan College and it allowed us to use Jasper Dollars here, which is great for business,” Bian said. “Even though we are open 24 hours, our busiest time is in the mornings or middle of the school day. Our dining area turns into a Hookah lounge between the hours of 8pm and 4am, students can come.”
Like Sandwich King 2, Best Deli is also open 24/7. Joseph Alammari believes their busiest times are during the afternoon and about 70 percent of its customers are college students.
Sandwich King 2 and Jasper Deli get their food from distributers like Restaurant Depo, but Best Deli gets a good portion of their food from local markets, specifically Jetro Wholesale, along with other distributers.
“We’ve been around for roughly a year and a half. Adapting to Jasper cards was definitely convenient for students and drew more customers in, but the percentage taken out is a lot larger than if a credit card is used,” Alammari said.
“The weekdays are busier than the weekends. The Stoner’s Delight is our most popular item. My favorite item is the Titanic, but the Halal Chicken over Rice is also doing great. I don’t think there is any competition at all because we all have different items in stock and menu choices.” Every single student at Manhattan College has their own preferences to which deli they turn to when hungry, but it is nice to have all three great options.
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