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Elephants Deli opens on Corbett

SOUTH PORTLAND — Good news for Southwest foodies: Elephants Delicatessen has opened a new location, Elephants on Corbett.

What exactly is Elephants Delicatessen?

“We are a deli, café, specialty food retailer, sack lunch and catering company,” said Elephants CEO Anne Weaver. “Elephants offers a complete menu of services and great local food prepared daily from scratch by our chefs and bakers.

Located in the former Sorenson Photography building at the corner of Southwest Corbett Avenue and Boundary Street, the site will be shared with Henry's Wine Vault and offer a private venue for events and meetings in addition to restaurant and retail space.

“The owner (of the building), Frank … is a visionary. He likes to create things … of architectural beauty and he had this idea for many, many, many years to open a wine club … and he wanted to have a food element to it,” Weaver said. “He approached us and ... mapped out his vision and showed me this building. Back then it was harder to see the potential in it, but I thought the neighborhood was really neat.”

Elephants Delicatessen, which first opened in 1979, has a green company policy, and Elephants on Corbett will adhere to it, and then some.

“We’re going to be doing all our other green practices —95 percent compostability in our packaging; all energy star equipment wherever possible,” Weaver said. “We may even have… a beehive and a beekeeper, a hyper-local apiary, on the roof because one of the contractors is a beekeeper and he thought it would be great to do that up there, so of course we loved the idea.

Elephants on Corbett will be the first of the company’s seven locations to serve brunch.

“We just thought it was a perfect breakfast kind of place,” Weaver said. “Especially with the outdoor seating and the neighborhood feel … this seemed like a natural spot for a weekend brunch experience.”

“Portlanders,” she added, “love their weekend brunches.”

If you’ve never been to an Elephants Delicatessen before, be prepared.

“It can be kind of overwhelming,” Weaver said, “because there is so much variety and so many sensory experiences. It’s not just a restaurant. It’s not just a retail food store. You can dine in and take out. So, it’s got a lot of flexibility that can be a bit confusing for a first-timer … customers will be able to order through a ticket system, and go up to different areas and kind of collect their food…navigate their way around all the offerings...”

She added: “It’s a little bit of a treasure hunt, but once people get the hang of it, they understand.”