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Fox Chapel

Entrepreneur bringing fresh meals to Fox Chapel

| Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 12:45 p.m.
Stephen Tobe knows what his deli store on Powers Run will look like even though it's a shell awaiting renovation right now.
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Stephen Tobe knows what his deli store on Powers Run will look like even though it's a shell awaiting renovation right now.

Come fall, Zayde's Deli Market Catering opens at the top of Powers Run hill.

Stephen Tobe is the businessman who looked at the old In and Out Mini Market tucked on the Camberwell Road corner and developed a vision of the future.

“My goal is to sell the best corned beef sandwich in Pittsburgh,” Stephen said.

Corned beef and a whole lot more. He plans a deli with prepared foods and has hired a chef to smoke meats in-house. The foodstuffs will be takeout because there will be no seating in the shop. That's a stipulation from the township because the store is in a residential district.

The new owner sees the deli's location as a benefit. His daughter and a son and their families live nearby. His daughter has two sets of twins. He expects to help families like hers by giving them a fast stop for a good snack or dinner. The new market will offer catering for family gatherings and parties, too.

Perhaps this family support is why Stephen named it Zayde, the Hebrew word for grandfather.

The hardworking entrepreneur visited more than 20 stores doing research. He chose the best ideas from each. He did his research in the community, too.

“It was a rite of passage for kids to walk to the [In and Out Mini Market] by themselves. Work crews stopped by.”

He has a vision and is organizing its future.

“I'm just the orchestra leader. I lead the band.”

Stephen, 67, said, “This is my fourth failure at retirement.”

The entrepreneur has built townhouses, created two resorts in Belize, and flipped homes in Shadyside. He keeps his own crew busy renovating.

“I do anything that's fun. I saw a need here. People loved the neighborhood community market,” he said.

When the new place opens, Stephen will promote himself to “chief schmoozer.” However, he is empowering his employees. He will keep some staff from the old mini-mart, but he has interviewed a lot of food pros. He will make them stakeholders at Zayde's.

Come the fall, when the dilapidated, white building morphs into a neat farmhouse with families grabbing a casserole, juice, party platters, or corned beef sandwich, it will be Stephen's vision realized.

The businessman “loves real estate.” It wasn't his first thought though.

Originally coming from Canada, he attended Kent State University graduating as a speech therapist.

Now he seeks opportunities. While waiting, he maintains his 23-acre farm in Frazer. He donates extra garden items to 412 Food Rescue.

“I invite serenity into my life. I have a wonderful family and I want to make happy memories.”

Sharon Drake is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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