All images are courtesy of Full Belly Deli.
This post is part of our Faces of Aegis series. We're spotlighting our clients, the people and businesses who are making an impact in our Tahoe-Truckee community and beyond! Read more of our client spotlights here.
When is a sandwich more than just a sandwich? When it's made by Full Belly Deli! Co-owners Eric and Tom, along with Chef Cody, have made the simple sandwich into an art form. But don't just take our word for it... Guy Fieri himself called the joint a "must try". Discover the story behind this Aegis client and local favorite!
6 Questions for Full Belly Deli
Full Belly Deli is celebrating 14 years in Truckee this year. This deli has grown into a local favorite thanks to the hard work of co-owners Eric Barton and Tom Marrin. We sat down with Eric and the deli’s chef, Cody, to discuss how the beloved eatery got started.
What is Full Belly Deli?
Eric explained that both he and Tom have backgrounds in restaurant management. The two decided to stop working for other people and open their own shop, and Full Belly Deli was born.
"We really try to be involved in the community. We try to do as much local sourcing as we can for our ingredients and bake our bread fresh. We really just try to be part of the Truckee community."
How did Full Belly Deli get started?
Eric and Tom's love of sandwiches was the inspiration for Full Belly Deli. They have since hired Cody to run Full Belly Deli's three locations. Cody's previous experience includes serving as a chef for the Cheesecake Factory.
Eric explains their decision to open up a deli in Truckee, stating:
"Tom and I have been in the Tahoe area for - I moved here in '97 and he moved right about the same time. We fell in love with this area for the skiing and the biking and the lakes and all that good stuff. We decided to make this place home."
But what about the great name? Eric explains that the name Full Belly Deli is an homage to his favorite sandwich spot from his home state of Connecticut.
"My favorite deli, which is no longer there, was Full Belly Deli. I grew up going there and so when Tom and I were somewhat struggling to find a business name, I remembered that and we just thought it was great. We ran with it."
How do you create your menu items?
The deli's original menu was created by founder Tom Marrin, who has a background as a chef. While they haven't deviated much from the original menu that made them a local favorite, they have added their Dirka Dirka and the Gnar Burrito. The new additions started as specials that were so well-loved they made their way onto the regular menu.
They've also added the Nacho Pollo Loco and the Biscuits and Gravy Burrito after making the dishes on the Food Network program Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Eric explains that "as soon as we did them on the show we knew we had to add them to the menu." Since the show aired, those menu items have become best sellers.
The deli always has breakfast and lunch specials available, created by Chef Cody. He explains his creative process, stating:
"We do daily breakfast and lunch specials, they rotate and change every day. As for creativity, it's kind of really whatever I'm in the mood for each day. Some days it has some Asian flair, some days it' very basic like a classic Reuben. It's all over the place, and that's what I like about it. It's fun just to see what you can do with sandwiches and how creative you can get with them."
What was it like to be featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives?
The deli was featured on the popular program in January 2020. Eric explains:
"Guy was even cooler than I imagined, the whole thing was a really unique experience.
We filmed at our Mill Street location, the second location that we opened, and things exploded at that store after that aired. Every time the episode runs we get busy for the next week.
We opened our third location in January of 2020, which was nice to have that air when we were opening our new location. Of course, we didn’t realize we were about to roll into a pandemic right after that, but the show was great.
Guy does great things in his community and around the country. He’s great and he did wonders for us as well."
The Food Network legend had wonderful things to say about the Full Belly Deli team as well.
"Talk about living up to your name - this sandwich shop is known for serving up inventive sandwiches in huge portions. Their biscuits and gravy burrito is stuffed to the brim with cheese, hash browns, sausage and chorizo gravy, and an entire house-baked biscuit. It sounds intense, but it’s definitely a must-try."
- Guy Fieri
Tell us about your community involvement.
The Full Belly Deli crew does their best to give back to their community, as well. The restaurant supports the High Fives Foundation, a local Truckee nonprofit dedicated to providing a safety net for athletes and the outdoor community.
A dollar from every Nacho Pollo Loco sold goes to the High Fives Foundation. While High Fives is close to the team's heart and the primary charity for the deli, Eric explains that "we're always open to helping out anybody we can in the community."
What's next for Full Belly Deli?
What's coming up for Full Belly Deli as we move into the winter months? For Eric, it's time for his favorite seasonal soup - butternut squash and Italian sausage!
Visitors can try out any of the deli's new daily specials, exciting new seasonal soups and sandwiches, or rotating favorites like their Gyro, which is available each Thursday. The team works to keep their offerings as seasonal as possible, which means there’s always something new to try!
Ready to try one of their famous local Sandwiches? Visit one of their three locations in Truckee and Reno.
"Susan is amazing. She is always there for me. She’ll call me back at 6 o’clock at night if I’ve left her a message... They’re great, I wouldn’t go anywhere else. They’ve done above and beyond. Every time we’ve needed them Aegis is there. I know they’re there for the community and they’ve always been there for us."
- Eric Barton, Full Belly Deli
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