New owner gives old deli a renewed life

[attach]980[/attach]It used to be the dreaded Coffee Lime Deli, but thanks to Morteza Mortazavi, Coffee Lime has gone from being in the dark to being in the limelight.

The new owner of the café, located on the corner of Pape and Floyd Avenues in Pape Village, has transformed a dingy and hardly frequented spot into a bustling meeting place.

Since buying the café in March 2009 Mortazavi has renovated continually, replacing the huge glass windows in the front and adding another sign. If you walk by on a warm fall day chances are you’ll see him on a ladder repairing or installing something.

“Everything I did myself,” Mortazavi says.

The business owner’s efforts appear to be paying off. He gets lots of students from the nearby college and middle school coming in for breakfast, lunch and dinner, he says, and people in the neighbourhood visit on a daily basis.

“The area has good people.”

Mortazavi has been in Canada only 27 months, having immigrated from Iran, where he worked for 15 years as an electrical engineer in the TV industry. Though he did some work as an engineer in Toronto he says he wanted to open a restaurant.

The lady who owned the café before him was elderly and sick, he says, and often closed the café. She lost a lot of customers as a result, he says.

In an effort to reach out to the community, Mortazavi has a daily seniors’ special and student deals. Though he’s pretty much a one-man show — his wife and daughter sometimes come in to help, he says — he doesn’t seem to mind the hard work.

“I am happy here,” he says. “I have good neighbours. They are very helpful to me.”