Friends craft sandwiches at new deli in Hoquiam

There’s a new deli in town and it’s owned and operated by two friends who have called Hoquiam home for a long time.

Shelly Dixon, who has run Lana’s Hangar Cafe and Simpson Avenue Grill and Lounge, combines her culinary experience with that of her friend Diane Johnson in order to start their new business: Two Broke Chics Deli.

The name isn’t just a name. As their hungry customers wait for their food inside the clean, open-concept space at Two Broke Chics Deli, they can look at Dixon’s and Johnson’s meal prep work as the deli’s co-owners — and only employees — put their hard work in for a good presentation and a filling breakfast, lunch or dinner.

It’s clear they have a process down, but it’s no surprise given they’ve worked together and they’ve been friends for a long time.

“We have been friends for over 36 years and we have worked together off and on for years,” Dixon said. “She also worked for me to help out at Lana’s and Simpson Avenue Grill, so we decided to get a sandwich shop going together.”

Dixon said the two had been talking about opening a deli for about nine months. While they were discussing it, they had some fortune. They found their address — 2605 Simpson Ave.

“We heard that this place was up for lease,” Dixon said. “We love the location and the landlord is amazing to work with.”

The address should be a familiar one for Grays Harbor residents as Ace of Clubs Tavern, which has been there since the mid-1930s, is right next door. It sounds as though it wasn’t an afterthought to be next to the county’s only true tavern.

“We wanted to be in Hoquiam and it is a great location,” Dixon said. “The Ace is a great place. We love being neighbors.”

And Ace of Clubs loves having a deli so close.

“The deli is a great addition to Hoquiam,” said Kimmy Nebel, bar manager at Ace of Clubs. “It brings a quick breakfast or lunch that’s super delicious and affordable. The best thing about the deli is the girls working. Both are great women with great personalities. Plus, it’s women-owned and delicious.”

Nebel’s favorite menu item is the breakfast sandwich, which comes with two types of cheese, three slices of ham and bacon, and two eggs.

“It’s massive in size and flavorful,” Nebel said.

So far, Dixon and Johnson have seen a good reception to their place. Dixon sounds satisfied by the early customers and how their process has worked.

“The first week was very busy, but it went very smooth,” said Dixon, who also noted a few of the sandwiches they have available. “Our most popular are The Ace, the Monte Cristo and the club sandwiches. And we are excited for all the sandwiches.”

The deli, while it has an expansive sandwich menu — 14 choices — also offers other items for its customers.

“The menu is great,” Dixon said. “We will be serving chowders, baked potato soup, creamy tomato basil soup, and more.”

Another item on the menu is what Dixon calls “Adult grilled cheese.” Dixon explained what goes into the simple creation.

“The adult grilled cheese is three different types of cheese for those who love cheese,” Dixon said ecstatically.

While she failed to mention her biscuits and gravy, that’s also on the menu. And it’s quite a filling addition.

While the ground sausage chunks are small, they’re layered throughout the creamy sauce, which makes each savory bite full of biscuit and gravy. And while it has a spicy element to it, people who don’t really like spice can enjoy it as well.

While it’s a lot of work to operate a restaurant with just one other set of hands, Dixon explained a couple advantages to only having her friend and co-owner with her behind the counter.

“We don’t have the big overhead, or employees,” Dixon said. “We are only open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. So, it makes the family life we have with our grandkids and family better.”

When Dixon closed Simpson Avenue Grill nine months ago, she said she loved her customers at the restaurant that sat on the other side of Simpson Avenue Bridge. She said her favorite memories were “just watching my customers’ kids grow up, my employees’ kids grow up, and all of them becoming basically family.”

While that was a sad chapter, the deli brings a new happier one because those customers Dixon loves can visit her again. They just have to adjust where they go on Simpson Avenue — about a mile east down the road — to see that familiar smiling face.

Nebel’s all about having that smiling face nearby. Having a deli next to a bar that doesn’t serve food is a “huge convenience,” according to Nebel.

“Shelly being back and bringing in one of her very best friends to work side-by-side is very exciting,” Nebel said. “To have her potato salad, nachos and some of the other items back has been a blessing to the communities’ bellies. Having the deli next to the Ace has been great. Our customers love the girls and the food. (The deli) gives our customers options to bring in and eat while here. They’re great neighbors and they make great food.”

Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at

Shelly Dixon, after pulling off a freshly-grilled breakfast sandwich from the press, cuts into The Cuban sandwich, which comes with six ounces of pulled pork.

Shelly Dixon, after pulling off a freshly-grilled breakfast sandwich from the press, cuts into The Cuban sandwich, which comes with six ounces of pulled pork.