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Do You Want A Taste Of The Blues?- an Interview with Vinnie Valenza and the Blues City Deli.
"Live music was always in the plan", says Vinnie. What a great place to come and enjoy a great sandwich and/or soup, some good beer, and some of our best blues talent in St. Louis.

The Blues City Deli is located on the corner of Victor and McNair in beautiful Benton Park, a neighborhood growing by leaps and bounds. All the cops and firemen come here, so you KNOW it's a great place to get sandwiches on the run, but should you decide to sit and eat, you are surrounded by wonderful blues memorabilia, blues music piped in overhead, and on weekends some of the best blues talent in the city. The day I stopped in for this interview was the first of many Saturdays with live music. This time Vinnie was featuring Brian Curran on guitar. What a treat! Vinnie called Brain early in the spring to get this set up. Brian likes playing here so it was an easy decision. He likes the idea of playing outside when it's nice weather and loves the idea of playing in air conditioning this summer. (laughter). Brian started playing at an early age and actually played the guitar his mom got his dad for Christmas! He gets most of his knowledge and information from reading liner notes on albums and CD's. Something of interest to you beginners. You can check out Brian with the Folkin' Bluesgrass Band all around town. He'll be marrying Miss Sarah Elizabeth Woods this summer August 4, 2007, so next year the band will be more open to festivals. How nice to put off his music to marry as wonderful and beautiful a woman as Sarah.
Back to Vinnie! Vinnie first got his idea for this gig in the late '80's , early '90's. He was a drummer with Pennsylvania Slim for many years and developed a blues sense early on. He missed his Ludwick 26 inch drum set he had as a child. (laughter). "Once blues was in my life, I'd think about food...I guess it's the Italian in me" (laughter). I went to New Orleans in 1992 and saw how great music and good food mix. I think that trip made it all possible for me in my mind that something like that could work here. I have such a great affection for the music and our musicians. Our business has been well received by the Benton Park community and everyone else, so an expansion seemed the right thing to do. An opportunity came up and I took it. I pulled the menu from the blues cities such as New Orleans muffalettas, Chicago hot dogs, and St. Louis Italian beef. Our Mission is to let people know about this music and what we love here in town!"

There are some really fine folks that help Vinnie with his deli. Vinnie's son Vinnie, Robbie, Steve, Mike Z., Bea, Evelyn, Ryan, and the newest addition, Keeli. They all work very hard to make your experience pleasurable and memorable. No matter how busy the place gets, they all have a smile and are happy to serve you!

Whether you stay and sit to eat or are just running for a take-out, you can not help but notice all of the blues memorabilia on the walls. There's tons of stuff! I like to look at all of the photos and posters and remember some of the events I attended too. What a great place to meet up with friends and shoot the breeze. Like Vinnie says, "Come on down and let's get to know each other. This is a positive place to go and have fun!" Vinnie's right! I made some new friends the day I came for this interview. Denny and Heidi, who live in Alaska were here to visit their cousin. They had a great time! Denny owns his own business as a fishing guide. Check out his website for more info at www.alaska-sfa.com. I love to fish, so here's hoping I can get back to Alaska soon!

I'd like to thank Vinnie for this interview and the hands that help him! Thanks Vinnie, Mike, Bea, Ryan, Steve, Evelyn, Robbie, and Keeli! Also, thanks to Dave Beardsley, for without his knowledge that the building was up for sale, Vinny may be serving us from some place else. Thanks Dave!

Check out www.bluescitydeli.com for the music schedule, or just stop by, grab a sandwich, and pick up a schedule. See you there and we'll have a great time!

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