Two River Deli opens near downtown Grayling to satisfy hungry customers
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A new eatery has opened near downtown Grayling to provide fresh and healthy lunch and dinner options as well as products to take home.
Tim Ash and his wife, Christi Ash, opened Two River Deli, located at 203 Ionia Street in Grayling.
The name pays homage to the importance of the AuSable River and Manistee River to the area, but also refers to another business venture started by the couple.
“We have some rental properties in town, and we call that Two River Properties, so we just went off the Two River name when we opened the deli,” Tim said. “It seems fitting.”
Planning for the business started a year ago, and was prompted by Tim’s job working for a wine distribution company based out of Traverse City. He paid regular visits to Folgarelli’s Market & Wine Shop and Fieldstone Market and Deli in Traverse City.
“I said Grayling could use one of these and it started from there,” he said.
The deli serves Boar’s Head meats and cheeses, which come from a New York-based deli operation founded in 1905. The products contain no additives or preservatives.
“Once you open it, it’s pretty much good for seven days and it’s just really good, quality meat,” Tim said.
Two River Deli opened for business on Monday, May 6, and the couple has been pleased with the response to the new business on the block.
“I’m amazed at the outcome from the community and trying us out, so it’s been good – better than I expected,” Tim said.
Two River Deli has grown enough in its first month in business to have a workforce of six employees.
“I think we’re good for now,” Tim said. “We’ll have to see what the summer brings.”
The employees rotate from working the front end of the business to making sandwiches in the back.
The focus of the menu options are sandwiches, soups, and salads. The deli has also added quiche, bread pudding, and macaroni and cheese to its options.
Tim, who is a “self-professed foodie,” was exploring the option of starting a food trailer before the deli idea came to the forefront.
“I’ve always been a food guy,” he said. “I’ve been watching the Food Channel since the day it started and it’s all I watch.”
Christi has a background in working at bars, brew pubs, and restaurants to provide topnotch customer service.
“I think it was a really good fit for us,” Tim said. “I’m about quality and any product we put out is going to be really good quality.”
The couple found a prime location for the business, located next to Family Video, which is right by the start of the AuSable River Canoe Marathon and within sight of motorists traveling on the I-75 Business Loop.
“Hopefully, we’ll get some more customers,” Tim said.
Two River Deli currently offers 15 sandwiches, including four grilled cheese sandwiches and two vegetarian options. The couple is planning on adding a tuna melt to the menu.
Boar’s Head meats and cheeses are also sold by the pound for people to take home or to their cottages, cabins, and campsites.
“Once we expand our sale of the meats and cheeses out the front door, then I can expand more of what we can offer,” Tim said.
The couple had been vacationing in the community for over two decades before moving from Southgate three and a half years ago.
“I’ve had a cottage up here for 22 years, and just decided to move up here before I got too old to enjoy it,” Tim said. “I love the small town. It’s a good little town.”
Two River Deli is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The deli offers deliver service as well as catering or pick up service for events. A discount is also offered to military, veterans, police, fire, and EMS personnel.
Fifty cents from each sandwich of the month sold goes to support the AuSable Valley Animal Shelter.
“The animal shelter is something that is very near to our hearts,” Tim said.
The hours may change depending on the season.
“It seems like our lunch crowd really does it for us,” Tim said. “We’ll see what happens when summer comes.”
Two River Deli can be reached at (989) 344-5554 or through its website at www.tworiverdeli.com and on Facebook.