As part of our The Taste Of Time we catch up with another long standing food business. Words by Janie Barton
Have you ever had a friend tell you they pigged out on junk food because it was “comfort food” after they had a bad day or an unpleasant experience? Sure, they might have felt comforted somewhat afterwards, but did they really feel good?
In reality, true comfort food nourishes the soul, the body and, of course, the belly, just like grandma’s homemade chicken soup that you know was cooked with care and love. It just makes you feel good all over.
It’s worth driving across town when you find a venue that epitomises the real definition of comfort food, but it’s even better when it’s close at hand.
Providing down-home, healthy take-away food choices at Rusty’s Markets in the mid 1990s, was the beginning of one of Cairns’ most iconic comfort-food delis, the Stratford Deli, which was started by Gail and Eugene Grossman after the positive response they received from their market days.
It’s been 20 years now since they opened the boutique deli, and the general consensus is this foodie gem ticks all the right boxes for providing food that’s not only made in house and packed with fresh food and goodness but is made with the body and soul in mind.
“Delicious and healthy food is our passion,” said Gail, who admits to being a cookbook addict. “I’m always reading about the health benefits of various foods. We’ve always tried to stick to the healthy and fresh, but we also sell heaps of home-made pies, pastries and cakes.”
The must-try-everything-on-it menu is perfect for meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans and celiacs as most of its dishes can be customised to suit just about any dietary requirement. The deli also has a range of take-home meals for those busy on the go who want a healthy take away.
“It’s interesting to see food trends,” Gail said. “People are more focussed on their health now. 10 years ago, gluten-free food was almost inedible, but today there are so many great gluten-free products available. Same with vegan food. I’m amazed at how many vegans are around.
“If you don’t keep up with the trends, then there is a lot of people who can’t get food.”
Gail said their catering side of the business, which covers anything from small work lunches to large corporate events, also caters to the changing diets of the population.
While the deli continues to attract new customers, it still has a lot of dedicated follows, including many who used to frequent their stall at Rusy’s two decades ago.
Stratford Deli Cafe & Catering
Kamerunga Rd, Stratford
6AM-4PM Sat-Thurs - Fridays until 8.30PM