We first heard the news last summer about a second, larger location for Rhea's Deli (that's pronounced like "Ray's" for those of you who still think Ike's sandwiches are the only game in town). And this week Grub Street hears from owner James Choi that he's hoping to open by March in the new spot at 2200 Bryant Street (at 20th). The new Rhea's Caf will feature something the original deli has never had: a seating area.
Rhea's Deli and Market takes its name from an older Korean lady who owned the place in the mid-80s, after which Choi's parents became the third owners. The deli came up in the world in the last few years under Choi's guidance, with the help of consulting chef Ian Muntzert (better known as the chef de cuisine at Commonwealth). And as Valencia Street has grown ever more one of the city's main food avenues, Rhea's has risen in peoples' minds as a sandwich destination to go out of your way for.
Choi makes his own mayonnaise, his mother makes the kimchi, and all the sandwiches are served on Acme bread. The place is best known for things like their chicken katsu (taken off the menu because they weren't permitted to have a fryer but likely to return at the new location), and their Korean steak sandwich.
Suffice it to say the Mission is eagerly awaiting the new spot, even though it's only about six blocks away from the original.
Below, a video homage to the place via Check, Please! in 2011.
Earlier: Rhea's Deli to Open Second Location