Jennifer and Charlie Haganey own McDevitt & Duffy Corner Market, 130 Cherokee St. in Leavenworth. In this Q5 they talk about opening a New York- style deli in the local area.

Jennifer and Charlie Haganey own McDevitt & Duffy Corner Market, 130 Cherokee St. in Leavenworth. In this Q5 they talk about opening a New York- style deli in the local area.

1. Jen, why did you and your husband Charlie decide to open a New York-style deli in downtown Leavenworth? 
Charlie and I have always enjoyed business challenges and have kicked the idea of a food business around for about 20 years.   
Years ago Leavenworth had a great place called the Delaware Deli and until recently we had Ron Booth's Corner Pharmacy.
These sort of places are essential to small-town life.
When the Corner Pharmacy closed it left a hole in many people’s hearts, we hope we can fill that need for a corner market or deli-style business where people can gather and greet their neighbors. 

2. Did you or other family members have previous delis? How did you end up in Leavenworth and in what part of the country did you grow up?
I was born in New York, Bayshore. My grandparents and extended family on my mom’s side, and a lot of my dad’s family too were all on Long Island.
Grandpa picking up bags of bagels was a part of the family gatherings on Sundays. The Irish, Italian family revolves around two things — church and food. I love both. 
My mom is a fabulous Sicilian cook. All of her sisters are in the restaurant business back in New York, including one who operates a deli. My little brother owns a couple of sandwich shops. It's just in our blood I suppose. 
My dad, Greg Ruff, was military, so the Army brought us out here when I was 8 years old and I’ve been here ever since. Leavenworth is home to us. All five of our kids were born and raised here. 

3. What are the most important food offerings, sauces,   and ways of preparing foods that determine if a deli is authentic and good? Why is an authentic deli sandwich so much better than any others?
Character is the most important aspect of a deli — all the great delis are owned by real characters and there  has to be character in the decor and in the food presentation. 
Of course quality ingredients and unique flavor combinations and generous helpings of meat are important.
One thing we do different than most national chain sandwich shops is we steam our meats. It really brings out the juicy flavor. 

4. What are some of your favorite offerings and what have been some of your customers’ favorites in the months the deli has been open?
The most excitement has been over the bagels. They are real authentic New York bagels overnight and from Queens. 
So far the best sellers sandwich-wise   and the ones people keep coming back for are the Rueben, the roast beef and Gouda, and especially the Waldorf chicken salad.
That last one kind of surprises me how popular it is. I make the Waldorf the way my oldest boy (Colin, in his last year at Seminary) likes it.  I guess it shouldn't surprise me though that his favorite would be everyone else's favorite. He enjoys good food and so do most folks.

5. McDevitt & Duffy’s interior furnishings are homey and unique. Who was the decorator and where did the many photos and memorabilia that line the walls come from? How did the one-of-a-kind TV on the wall come about?
Charlie and I decorated it ourselves. We both have always enjoyed creating welcoming atmospheres.
The decor reflects both our family and local history. 
The black counter by the front door is about 115 years old and was the original checkout stand from the Corner Pharmacy.
Ron Booth had it down in the basement for the last 40 years. The menu boards were the window panels in Unger's Bakery (another fading Leavenworth icon.) The "Enter around front" sign is a find from our family's favorite KC dive, Jazz in Jimmys Jigger. 
The other decor is all reflective of family, the baskets and lots of the pretties on the wall were inherited from my stepmother Candy. Another lover of good food.
The black and white photos are all family with the exception of a few saints, and the picture of Liberace  and Trump with the polar bear. That one’s just weird — we love the weird and unusual.
The colander chandelier, the vintage fridges the old-school bar stools, and the games are all meant to give the feeling this place has been here forever. 
Everyone asks about the fridges and the cool TV and yes the fridges are real and still work.
The TV is an old console TV that Charlie painted (he loves to spray paint old stuff) gutted and replaced with a Smart TV.
He has a lot of fun ideas. A big, fun colorful project he's working on is the hot dog cart.

Bonus question:
What has been the best thing about operating a business in Leavenworth so far and what do you most look forward to?
We opened our first business in Leavenworth, a pottery import and wholesale operation in our 20s. Since then we've had several other adventures, including a bar, an antique store, and Lavender Moon, a vintage-style clothing shop, all in Leavenworth.
Leavenworth is just a part of who we are. Anything we dream of doing we dream of doing here in our hometown.
Through all of those other business the idea to do this deli kept popping back up.
Finally we just bit the bullet, closed everything else and said let’s do it. 
We're really enjoying this endeavor.
Now that we're doing it, we can’t believe we waited so long to do it and can't imagine doing anything else anywhere else. 

— Rimsie McConiga