ITHACA, N.Y. –– The owners of Ithaca’s downtown Thai Basil restaurant Bonner and Ooy Herren have now ventured into a new food frontier –– opening Ooy’s Deli on Aurora St. in the old Collegetown Bagels storefront.

“We’re excited about it, it’s a great location,” owner Bonner Herron said.

The deli is currently offering coffee, specialty drinks, smoothies and grab-and-go food items as a sort of soft opening before eventually opening for more traditional deli selections like sliced meats and made to order sandwiches.

According to Bonner, the deli side of things is still about a month away from being operational, and plans for installing a grill and deep fryer are still a ways off.

Bonner expressed that he would have liked to open all the components of Ooy’s at once, but that the pandemic has changed his plans.

The Herren’s leased their new spot back in February, “a week before COVID came to town,” Bonner Herren said, and that “any time table we had went out the window.”

Awnings and banners on the outside of the building branding Ooy’s are a work in progress but baristas, and Bonner himself are ready and waiting to serve customers the standard coffee shop fare like lattes and cappuccinos, or new favorites like Ooy’s Thai iced coffee.

And despite the economic uncertainty that many local businesses are facing, Bonner said he believes Ithacans still have the desire to enjoy local cuisine, and that Ooy’s will survive through the pandemic to join the ranks of downtown favorites.

“The whole community has been really great supporting local restaurants,” he said. “If everyone hangs in there, things will get better.”

Ooy’s deli is open everyday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the corner of N. Aurora St. and Seneca Way.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com