Noonie Deli  is returning to Chittenden County after a two-decade absence. Owners Bryan and Jenny Phelps plan to open a sister to their Middlebury venue in Essex Junction as soon as mid-March.
Noonie’s history goes back to 1986, when, says Mandy Hotchkiss, she and Jennifer Silpe started it as a cart on Church Street. Phoebe Bright joined the sandwich business the next year — she’s now Hotchkiss’ chef-partner at Blue Paddle Bistro  in South Hero. They soon added a Toyota truck parked at the University of Vermont and opened nine fixed locations across the state, most of which closed in the 1990s.
Bryan and Jenny Phelps purchased the last remaining Noonie store, in Middlebury, from Karen Phelps (no relation) in March 2010. “When we purchased the deli three years ago, our intention was to grow the business,” Bryan Phelps says. “The most logical direction to go to was where it originated — with a high concentration of population there, as well.”
The Phelpses have chosen 1 Market Place, just off Susie Wilson Road in Essex Junction, as their new spot. Workers are currently renovating the space that until recently held the Party Store. The location makes practical sense, as the deli already gets its freshly baked bread daily from the Baker’s Dozen, across the street from the new store.
Phelps says his “good value … high quality” food won’t differ from Noonie fare in Middlebury. Customers can still expect specialty sandwiches such as best-selling Purple’s Pleasure, a combination of turkey, bacon, avocado, jalapeños and cheddar melted with garlic-basil mayo; as well as daily soup and comfort-food specials, such as wraps and mac and cheese. “We can’t wait to become a part of the Essex community and are particularly grateful that we will be able to hit the ground running,” Phelps says.
The print version of this article was headlined "Rising at Noonie".