Often coined as a “hidden gem” of downtown Hillsdale, the Hillsdale Filling Station Deli has filled the community with subs, salads, and Italian delicatessen classics in the basement of Block L on Broad and McCollum Streets for almost 29 years, but with plans of new expansion, has decided to carry its business upstairs.
With the difficulty of maintaining an upstairs tenant in the Filling Station’s building, Owner of 18 years Cindy Bieszk decided it was an ideal time to make a change for business purposes.
“When I lost the tenant last December, the commercial space became available,” Bieszk said. “With the space, it expands me that much more for inside seating, visibility, and it makes business that much bigger and better.”
The Block L building has always been an ideal small business location, with the Hillsdale Standard in a Jan. 5, 1869 edition boasting, “The street is wide, cleanly, and pleasant; the sidewalk new and wide; the stores high, elegant, and attractive; the cellars dry, light, and healthy; and the merchants active, competent, and agreeable — and prepared to offer such sharp competition as will insure to them a large share of public patronage.”
Bieszk said that the change was necessary for business. Especially since during the cold months, customers are not able to eat in the only available seating, which is outside.
“The Filling Station has always been popular in the summer, because you can enjoy it with their outdoor seating,” local and senior Kendra Lantis said. “But when fall hits, it definitely causes people like me to forget about it.”
Bieszk said that not many renovations will be made to the building, apart from the general location of the Filling Station and where people may enter. Until the expansion is completed, the Filling Station will still be using its door downstairs, but after renovations, customers will use the main floor entrance.
“The only changes happening with expansion are that customers will use the front door instead of the back door, and indoor seating on the main floor,” Bieszk said. “The deli has always been in the basement, but we’re moving everything to the main floor, although the prep area and storage will remain in the basement. Take-out and dine-in will be available on the main floor.”
Demolition begins next week, but Bieszk says that the business will remain open, with the exception of March 18 and 19 due to electrician and plumber visits.
“It is simply safer food-wise and body-wise for us to shut down for those days,” Bieszk said, “but other than that, we will have all of our normal hours during the changes.”
Students currently living above the business don’t believe the renovations will pose any issues for their living environment, and hope to continue to enjoy the business as it remains open during the changes.
“I don’t think it will affect us at all, I think it’s strictly the shop, and other than some more noise than usual, we won’t be impacted,” tenant and junior Ryan Zetwick said. “We try to go to the Filling Station as much as we can. It’s obviously great food, and the employees are all fantastic, so it makes it a great, quick lunch stop.”
Bieszk says that she is hoping the changes will be completed by May 1, which will not only be the grand opening for the summer season, but it will also be the Filling Station’s 18th birthday.
Students and locals alike are excited to see the changes and accommodations the deli will make, since it represents a unique and hidden part of Hillsdale’s town culture.
“I’m so excited for their expansion,” Lantis said. “I know Hillsdale doesn’t have a lot of places to go eat, especially with friends and family, so by adding a sit-down option to the Filling Station will be appreciated by locals and students.”