Cheese Has a Much Different Meaning At Riverside Deli | Restaurants

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Cheese Has a Much Different Meaning At Riverside Deli
Cheese Has a Much Different Meaning At Riverside Deli

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The folks at the Whiteway Deli in Riverside don't just have your sandwich in mind when they tell you "say cheese."

The owner, Sam Salem, has been taking customer photos with an old Canon behind the front counter for decades.

"I started, then I got the camera as a gift in 1972, I just wanted to practice on customers, and then it just blew up," he said.

He still fills it with film, takes the exposed roll for processing, and at the end of each week, posts new customer photos on the walls.

In all, Sam estimates he's taken more than 70,000 customer photos. Of course, he can't fit all of those on the walls.

So, he's got shoe boxes, photo albums and a warehouse in the back full of photos. He refuses to throw any away.

"You know them, you know their family, you see their kids growing up," he said.

He's not bluffing when he says he knows these folks either. Without hesitation he thumbs through a shoe box full of photos, and just happens to stop on a shot labeled 2007.

"That's Lacy right there," he said pointing to the shot. "That's before she had the baby."

And he continues that process. But Salem's not showing off, he's flipping through pictures that actually mean something to him.

He comes to another photo of a very young child, and under his breath almost mumbles, "There's Boone...He just got his drivers license."

He said he'll go through two rolls of film a week, as opposed to the one or two a day he'd go through years ago.

"Well, I've just about got everybody now, I don't want to double up too much," he said.

But if someone comes in who he doesn't know, the click of the camera happens right after they order. "If you saw your picture on the wall, then you bring your friends and then they bring someone else," he said.


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