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Issue Date: June 2009

Rating the Suburbs - Westlake

George Bagsarian, 48
owner of Lehman’s Deli
People walk in the door and Nikki has their food going before they’re even ordering. The people who work here have been here for a long time.

When I first bought the store,
I was 21, 22 years old, and my friends helped paint and fix up the place. On Friday and Saturday nights, we used to have cookouts in the back. We’d grill out and we’d have a movie showing. Back then it was a smaller town and we knew all the policemen, and they knew on Saturday nights they could pull around Lehman’s and they could stop and talk to people.

One of the first days
I worked here, my brother came and helped me, and basically we worked from sun up to 10 at night doing everything from unloading dump trucks full of pumpkins to making apple cider. When we drove home, my brother looked at me and said, “Geez, you got your hands full. I’ve never worked so hard in my life.”

I don’t know if
I would add anything to Westlake, but I miss the charm of it being a little smaller and not so commercial. Having said that, we get more business because of the development, but you drive around and you’re like, “I remember woods being there and now they’re building something.”

Norm and his wife,
MargretLehman,started this business I want to say sometime after the second World War. It was a little farm market, with an apple orchard, a vineyard, they grew peaches. It wasn’t like it is today.

What makes
me feel good is there’s not a week that goes by when someone doesn’t come in and say, “I used to work down the street. I got another job and I moved away, but I had to come back and get my favorite sandwich.” That happens all the time.

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