September 3, 2010 > Mr. Mikey's Country Store and Deli
Mr. Mikey's Country Store and Deli
By Denny Stein
Not everyone can pop next door to Mom's to borrow a cup of sugar or pick up a box of diapers. That's why we have, or used to have, "Mom & Pop" stores. And though Mr. Mikey's of Niles is actually a Pop & Sons store, it serves as everyone's family neighbor. Sam Daoudi and his son Michael took over the Niles location, on Main Street between F and G, in 2003. The Daoudis have been in the grocery industry for 35 years, and when the elderly gentleman who ran Mrs. Bentley's Country Store retired, Sam and Mike stepped in. Several years later, Ehab, the younger son (often referred to as "Mike, Jr.") joined the team. Ehab told me that his Dad, Sam, is the heart of the store, the man of the morning who brightens up everyone's day; he's always in a good mood. Judging by all the times that Ehab has welcomed me in the store, he obviously takes after his father.
Repeat customers, and there are many, greet him by name and exchange bits of news. Ehab is here 365 days of the year, even on holidays, when patrons bring him Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas dinners. But, besides the uplift of smiling Daoudis, the people of Niles, and those passing through between Union City and Fremont, stop at Mr. Mikey's because they will find what they seek here. The shelves are replete with every possible gustatory and household need, from champagne to light bulbs, fishing supplies, video cables, dairy products, spices, canned goods, and cleaning supplies. This story could be an extensive shopping list, ending with ice cream, Helados Mexican ice cream bars (a personal weakness) to our local favorites, Blue Bunny and It's It.
But there's more to Mr. Mikey's than groceries and dry goods. There's a total dedication to customers and quality that only comes with a family business. There's pride in being able to take care of their community. Because they are a family business, not tied to corporate goals or stockholder demands, they can keep their prices low and choose their merchandise with care, keeping local needs in mind. Specialty items are a specialty! The wine and beer selection is extensive, and thoughtful. If there's anything you need, just ask, Ehab will probably have it or get it for you. Did you know that Sam and the Mikes order extra cans of cranberry sauce and fried onions for the holidays? It seems those are the two things that everyone forgets or runs out of at the last minute. But Mr. Mikey's is open Christmas and Thanksgiving and ready for you, no matter what your recipe calls for.
The environment is important too, and the Daoudis have provided a reverse osmosis purified water station, where you can fill your water bottles of every size, rather than buying more and more plastic containers. The water bar sits opposite the new Deli section, where the menu is almost as extensive as the grocery offerings. Smoothies, sandwiches, salads, deli meats and cheese are available to eat in at one of the small round tables by the window, or take home for dinner (and don't forget the milk shake). The plastic glasses used here are compostable, another sign of responsibility and caring. At the counter, there are fresh homemade tamales and hardboiled eggs. In fact, one of my first meals when I moved to Niles was a Mr. Mikey's tamale.
But wait - there's more! Mr. Mikey's will deliver if you can't get out to the store. Catering is available for birthday parties, business meetings, or family picnics in the near-by park. Their ingredients are fresh and healthy, the baked goods selection is dangerous, and everything comes with a Daoudi smile. How do you remember where Sam and Michael and Ehab are located? Main Street, between F for "food" and G for "good."
Mr. Mikey's Deli
37161 Niles Blvd., Fremont