It was just last fall that I made a tearful adieu to Frussie's Deli, closed due to owner/chef James Dicks' battle with cancer. In my mind (and appetite), Frussie's in South Knoxville was simply the finest sandwich emporium in the city, with truly fresh-baked bread and just-roasted meats. Dicks has his own way of crafting sandwiches, and I find it eminently agreeable to my taste buds. Many hardcore Frussie's acolytes would agree.
I feared I would never again be able to taste the glories of a warm Italian (you needn't ask if you've ever had one), but it appears we may have a sandwich savior in one Eric Lykins. He's a like-minded Frussie's follower who has vowed to bring back the one true deli.
Posting on Knoxviews, he writes:
"Three of my best friends put some nickels together and Alexandra Spinosa and I are going to be baking bread, making sandwiches (do you remember the potato salad? I had some last week), making this work, and not losing everybody's farm. James and his wife made it happen for 24 years (minus 2 month vacations every year which we will not do to you) and never advertised. It was just that good and we don't want to change anything.** We just want it back."
With a target date of May 1, Lykins is undergoing intense bread-baking training under the master himself, James Dicks. Although he won't personally commit to baking the loaves at 2 a.m. as tradition dictates, he does say he'll keep the place open longer than Dicks, who usually closed the doors at 2 p.m.
With the same hole-in-the-wall location in the Moody Complex, this Frussie's reopening may be a sign that the universe is finally rebalancing itself.
Mr. Lykins, you will be a bona fide Knoxville hero if you can pull this off.