We had the good fortune of connecting with David Danowski and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi David, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risks are a part of life, and in order to succeed one must be willing to take risks at times to achieve what some may find impossible. Wayne Gretzky once said “you will miss 100% of the shots you never take”. When you think about that and know that pain is only temporary so when you have a dream or want to follow your passion you just go for it and never look back. Life will throw you curve balls so when it gets tough because it will don’t ever forget your Why.

What should our readers know about your business?
Nine years ago I started a BBQ restaurant after working at Kennedy Space Center for ten years. I felt I came to a point in time in my life that I wanted a challenge and was young enough or naive enough to pull this off. At the time I decided I was ready to pull the trigger to open a brick and mortar I found out Wendy, my fiancé at the time who is my wife now, was pregnant with our first child Josephine. What a surreal moment that was. The uncertainty of opening a business with a child on the way felt just crazy. Wendy was so supportive and told me if anyone could do this it would be us. Needless to say I emptied my savings account and had $100 left in my pocket on opening day and never looked back. I now had a family to provide for and nothing was going to get in the way or so I thought. Three months in and 140 hours a week I ran into major staffing issues( don’t hire friends and their family members). This was the biggest mistake and nearly crippled me right then and there but I put my nose down and overcame. As we were dealing with this issue and hiring attorneys, which I didn’t know at that time was a necessary demand, my father in law passed away. Five months in if felt like the wind was knocked out of sails and I questioned myself that one time if I made the right choice to open this restaurant, but never again. My wife and I dug down deep and overcame this obstacle only to meet another obstacle and another and another. At this time this it just feels like a bad dream but little did I know what God had in store for me. Two years ago we ran into COVID-19 and It almost crippled us. Our landlord was unwillingly to work with us and we were forced to close. Oh did I mention my wife was pregnant with our second child, Amanda. We were fortunate enough to find a new location quickly but took us 5 months to finalize a lease and move in. We depleted all of our reserves, stocks and all so we could keep our family afloat during this time. We finally opened end of October after our daughter was born on October 12 so once again just another obstacle to overcome but at this point we were used to trials and tribulations. When 2021 came around I decided I need a change and that BBQ was overly demanding for the lack of help that available in the workforce. We ran into many staffing issues like most of the country and needed to make a call. I tracked numbers and customer counts and they were basically the same each month, give or take a few. We were drowning in the BBQ business. Proteins were at an all time high, inflation was killing us from the inside. I made the call to change into a deli. I took family recipes and put them into place, perfected making in house pastrami, corned beef, sauerkraut, bacon and kielbasa. My thought process was if I could offer deli sandwiches like I used to get back home in New York and still offer smoked BBQ I could take my customer count and increase it.with people not traveling due to COVID I knew something had to change and being diversified was the answer. At the beginning we caught a lot of heat and people thought I was crazy taking something I’ve done for 7 years at the time and winning best BBQ in our county three years a row to change into a deli. It was more fitting for me, gave me more time with my family which was most important and gave our customers more options for eating out. Now we serve up what some have said is the best pastrami in Florida and right up there with carnage deli in New York. Our aim is to become a Florida destination on the space coast. In a nut shell, for someone who reads this just know that life will punch you in the face over and over but never forget your WHY. Your why is what will keep you moving forward when you don’t think you can anymore.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is an area where I am not proficient, I literally feel like all I do is work and spend time with my family. We don’t eat out much because I like to cook and grill so it makes things a lot easier.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Theres so many people I’d like to thank that have had a major impact on my journey one way or another. First and foremost, I’d like to thank God for giving me the tools to do what I do best. I’d also like to thank my wife Wendy for being there for me through this crazy thing called life. The support, encouragement and patience she has displayed is simply amazing. I’d also like to thank my kids, Adriannah, Josephine and Amanda, for being understanding when I couldn’t make a school play, dance recital or softball game so I could work. My dad David is my rock and if it wasn’t for him, who knows where I’d be today. He taught me how to work hard, never accept failure and quit was never a word in our vocabulary. Also I’d like to thank my grandmother, my aunt Dee Dee and cousin Tracy for some of our family’s recipe we get to share with the community. My staff deserves a lot of recognition as well and my manager Destiny is as good as it gets. Last but not least Bob has been my mentor for years and he has shown me willingly at times and forcibly at other times how to be a better businessman. I’d like to give a little shoutout to Eric Thomas who doesn’t know me but he has helped push me when I felt down, discouraged or beaten. His motivation speaking will have you running through walls and pushing yourself to points in life you never would think was possible. One thing I’ve learned over time is you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, lions hang out with lions


Website: Doubledsdeli.com

Instagram: Doubleds_deli

Facebook: Doubledsdeli

Youtube: Double D’s deli & more

Other: Tiktok doubledsdeli

Image Credits
Amy Riley for pastrami and Swiss in outdoor setting

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