At Athea’s Deli, owner focuses on fresh, tasty food |

At Athea’s Deli, owner focuses on fresh, tasty food

Athea Colbert is the owner of Athea's Deli inside the Cedar Ridge Market on Colfax Highway.
Emily Lavin/ | The Union

A new deli is up and running inside of Cedar Ridge Market.

Athea’s Deli is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday inside the market at 12738 Colfax Highway. The deli offers a variety of breakfast, hot and cold sandwiches, as well as salads, with prices ranging from about $7-$9.

Athea Colbert, 36, opened the deli about two months ago. The Nevada County native has worked in various delis and restaurants around the area — but this is her first time striking out on her own.

Colbert, however, is not fazed by the challenge of starting a business.

“I’ve done it for other people for about 20 years,” Colbert said. “If I’ve done it for them, I can do it for myself.”

Plus, she added, “You don’t find out if you’re going to make it unless you try.”

The trademarks of her operation inside the market are cleanliness and fresh ingredients, she said. Much of what she serves is homemade, including her meatloaf, soups and salads. She also tries to use local ingredients when possible; for instance, she said, she uses bagels from Grass Valley’s Bubba’s Bagels for her breakfast sandwiches.

Though she said health department regulations allow her to keep all of her deli meats and salads in the fridge for up to seven days, she keeps nothing past three days, to ensure everything tastes as fresh as possible.

Colbert was scouting a few different locations for her deli when she happened to walk into Cedar Ridge Market. She had previously worked in the market, and the owners asked her if she’d like to come back and work for them again.

“I said, ‘How about you lend me your kitchen instead?’” Colbert said.

Though she knows the Colfax Highway location doesn’t get much foot traffic, she noted it does draw customers from the surrounding neighborhoods, as well as the two schools and businesses nearby.

“There’s enough people here, it just looks like there isn’t,” Colbert said.

She said she’s currently putting in 11-hour days, six days a week to get the business launched — but says the work is worth it to serve customers food they enjoy.

“That’s why most cooks cook,” Colbert said. “It’s better than a tip in my jar to hear them go, ‘Oh my god, that is so good.’”

To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email or call 530-477-4230.

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