A never-changing tradition… Poor Trav’s Deli sweeps three 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards

Published 6:00 am Monday, July 29, 2019




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There is an old saying that if it’s not broke then don’t fix it and Poor Trav’s Deli has taken that approach down through the years and the results continue to be impressive.

In the 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards, Poor Trav’s Deli was recognized by readers as having the Best Chef/Cook in Travis Sexton and Richard Oaks, Best Restaurant – Lunch, and Best Deli.

“I guess because it has been around for so long and we make really, really good food and have become a staple in the community for so long,” said Sexton about being recognized. “You can’t get sandwiches like these anywhere and that’s probably why so many people like it.

“I also think they probably like the fact when they come in here they are going to see the same two or three people. It’s always going to be me, Richard, or Deborah.

“I think it’s that friendliness and recognition of who is going to be working and to say hello to them.”

According to Sexton, bigger things are on the way for the deli.

“It will be more exciting because we are getting ready to do a remodel to make it a sit down place,” Sexton stated. “I am very thankful that people decide to come here for lunch.

“We always have wanted to do the sit down for years but I think it will be even nicer to see the people’s reaction to see them sit down and enjoy their food and interact with them more than just a few seconds.”

Sexton has been the owner for ten years and worked in the deli as a teenager before coming back to purchase the business later.

Oaks has been by Sexton’s side since they were childhood friends and according to Sexton could run for mayor as many people as Oaks knows.

“I would say that people like the food and the way we steam sandwiches and people see this place as a place that has been here for a very long time,” Oaks said about the success of the business. “It’s almost a landmark for Elizabethton you might say. People have eaten here for many, many years and the food hasn’t changed very much.

“I think it’s traditional. There’s a novelty here in this place. I get stories all the time from people that they met their first love here and they had their first date here when they served breakfast and lunch a long time ago.

“The previous owners, the Linebaughs, was well-liked and we tried to keep the flavors that worked for them,” Oaks continued. “When you are nice to people and have an interest in what they are getting, you always want to make sure they have a quality product and get what they want to meet their need and they appreciate that.”