Elephants Delicatessen began on April 19, 1979. We took over a failing deli, knocked out a wall, and scrubbed around the clock for four days.
Elephants sprouted wings and flew to the Fox Tower where we opened the first Flying Elephants, a smaller and quicker, but still beautiful, fun and tasty, version of the big store.
Elephants catering, lunch delivery and bakery were bursting out of our small kitchen. So a new location, the central kitchen, opened.
Elephants on Wheels, a really cute(and delicious) cart opened on the Fifth Avenue Transit Mall side of Macy's in downtown Portland.
Also in 2009
Flying Elephants flew all the way to PDX and finally made great carry-on (or eat-in) food available at the airport.
Portland was still small and distinctly uncosmopolitan. Good cheese, wine, & coffee were not to be had. Elephants began to introduce them to Portland: fresh pasta, fresh-squeezed juice, sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses flown in directly from Europe, espresso drinks, olive paste, fresh pesto and really good, wholesome food to go.
Elephants moved to its own building and parking lot on NW 22nd off Burnside. We had a great parade from the old location to the new. Hundreds of customers with their kids and dogs, along with clowns, Chinese dragons, stilt walkers, local celebrities like Darcelle and Gerry Frank, all paraded behind a huge marching band, followed by a fire truck, followed by a huge elephant float. It was so much fun and it hasn't stopped since.
A new Flying Elephants opened off Kruse way on Meadow in Lake Oswego.
"The best thing about Elephants and the not-so-secret ingredient is the people. When I started the store in 1979, I had no idea that so many wonderful people would come to work here or that there would be so many terrific customers."
"Just think, over 30 years of smart and funny people. Not bad, huh?"