Yellow Deli In Comeback

Popular Christian Eatery From 1970s To Be Revived

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

The Yellow Deli will be making a comeback in Chattanooga.

Ed Wiseman, who was involved in operation of the Christian-based eateries here in the 1970s, said the Yellow Deli will be reopened at a site yet to be announced.

He said there will also be a Yellow Deli reunion at the rose garden at Warner Park on Easter Sunday, April 16. He said Yellow Deli founders, Gene and Marsha Spriggs, will be among those in attendance.

"We will be there to discuss why we left Chattanooga, where we have been, and why we are coming back," he said. Mr. Wiseman and Mr. Spriggs both are originally from Chattanooga.

He said the event, from 2 p.m. until dark, will also include a picture gallery, circle dances, music and Yellow Deli food.

Mr. Wiseman said the group plans to have a portable booth at the upcoming 4 Bridges Art Festival and the Riverbend Festival.

The first Yellow Deli was opened on Brainerd Road in May 1973. Mr. Wiseman said the eatery got a big boost in 1974 when Helen McDonald Exum wrote a favorable article.

The group opened The Areopagus across from Warner Park in 1976. It included a restaurant as well as an area for live Christian music. In 1978, a Yellow Deli was opened downtown at the site of the current Pickle Barrel.

Mr. Wiseman said the group decided about 1980 to relocate in New England. He said the group started opening a similar-type restaurant, but it was called Common Ground Cafe. He said there are a number of the cafes in New York, Vermont and Massachusetts as well as one in Manitoba, one in Brazil and another in Australia.

He said the group's business interests also include construction, natural body care and green tea imported from Brazil.

Mr. Wiseman said members of the group live in households together and share income. They hold their own worship services.

He said the Spriggs couple now lives in Asheville, N.C.

Mr. Wiseman, 58, said he plans to relocate to Chattanooga and help operate the new Yellow Deli.

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