DES MOINES, Iowa — It is a love story that began on Des Moines’ Ingersoll Avenue.
“Ever since my wife and I met we would sit at Star Bar down the street and talk about iconic places in Des Moines that we would own if we could,” said Corey Hansen. The icon was Hagar’s Manhattan Deli. There’s no better sandwich in town said Corey.
On Monday, Carey and Corey Hansen’s longtime dream of owning the over 40-year-old Des Moines staple became a reality. “It’s been a whirlwind,” said Carey. Tuesday the West Des Moines couple, who also run a nationwide catering service jumped right in as former owners Fred and Kim Hagar agreed to take them under their wing for the next 30 days.
“Kim onboarded me in the front of the house and we are training with two of the best Des Moines restauranteurs,” said Carey. Corey added, “I worked alongside with Fred this morning making the famous cheese soup and his famous egg salad.”
The Hansens are no stranger to the deli. “The food is just phenomenal. The sandwiches just melt in your mouth,” said Corey. They already had a favorite sandwich as they spent years wishing they were behind the counter instead of ordering in front of it. Carey said, “We came in on the Tuesday Special day which is our favorite sandwich of all time.” It was only fitting that their first day on job was a Tuesday. “It almost doesn’t seem real,” said Corey.
With a change in ownership will come a slight change in the name. “Hansen’s Manhattan Deli” The menu and atmosphere inside will remain untouched Corey said, “We want to keep the tradition going.” A tradition that tips its cap to the staff. “We are keeping all of those awesome employees that we can’t think highly enough of,” said Carey.
One change in the works could add even more employees. “Maybe add on a grocery in the near future,” Carey said.
For over forty years customers at the end of the line grew accustomed to seeing the smiling face of Fred’s 85-year-old grandmother Victoria Hagar. Fans of the deli will be happy to know she specifically requested to stay on staff because she loves the job so much. “Affectionately known as Vito. She is still going to be here every day. She is going to man the phones and do all of the to-go orders,” said Carey.
A couple with their heads in the clouds, keeping history alive. “Definitely take risks and just dream big,” said Carey.
Store hours are currently under the same Covid-19 restrictions, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.