COLUMBIA, S.C. — Andy's Deli is a Columbia staple nestled in the Five Points neighborhood in Columbia.
Thursday, the man behind the restaurant, Andy Shlon, passed away.
Over the 40+ years Andy's Deli has been open, Shlon touched many around the community and beyond.
“It’s going to be really sort of hard to drive through Five Points and not see him behind the counter," said Steve Cook, Five Points Association President and owner of Saluda's. “It’s like an old friend. We weren’t close personally, but he was like an old friend to everyone in the neighborhood.”
Saluda's has been a neighboring business of Andy’s for around 20 years, and Cook said he could see the impact his passing had on the community. “I started seeing on social media people sharing their sort of experiences, and they were all the same. And, I think that really says a lot about somebody when everybody has sort of the same reaction. Whether you knew Andy for decades or it was your first time walking in the door, he treated you the same.”
Former Gamecock Quarterback Connor Shaw was a frequent flyer at Andy's Deli and even spent time with the Shlon family. He was also sad to hear the news. "I'm so thankful to have known Mr. Andy," Shaw told News19. "TJ Johnson and I were there at least twice a week for four years! Just an incredible family, he's a sincere person. I think all of Columbia, SC is mourning the loss of Mr. Andy."
Others have expressed their condolences, including former Columbia City Councilman Moe Baddourah. He issued a statement, saying:
“Just over 40 years ago, at the age of 16, I left my home country of Lebanon to move here to Columbia to be with my uncle, Andy Shlon, in this City that he so dearly loved.
Today, just as many of you feel the impact of losing him, my family and I are heartbroken.
Andy loved Columbia. He was a friend to everyone that came into Andy’s Deli. Andy was dedicated to this City, to its’ citizens, to the University of South Carolina, to education, to young people, and to the many organizations and issues he passionately advocated for during his lifetime.
What Andy loved more than anything was his family. Please keep my Aunt Carole, their sons Andy Jr. and Adam and their grandchildren in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days. His dedication and his service to our City will never be replaced or forgotten.”
According to their Facebook Page, Andy’s Deli will be closed for the time being and funeral arrangements will be announced once finalized.