Dawn Myers is a mad scientist when it comes to food

tporter@lsjournal.comAugust 23, 2013 

The off-the-wall ideas come to Dawn Myers and she puts them into action.

The new owner of Dawn’s Downtown Deli and Treats has only been in business since April, but over the course of the last several months has developed a penchant for exotic sandwich combinations.

Myers’ sandwiches aren’t too far out there, and they include traditional deli shop fare, but they are conceived from her love of food and what she thinks may or may not go in tandem on choice breads.

Specialty sandwiches include items such as a BLT topped with egg salad, a BLT with avocado on toasted sourdough, or what is becoming a quick seller, pretzel roll sliders with ham and cheese.

Another of Myers’ creations includes mesquite chicken, bacon, cream cheese spread, tomatoes and arugula on long, thin-sliced sourdough and just last week the daily special menu featured deli style Kentucky hot browns, which are open-faced roasted turkey sandwiches on toasted ciabatta bread topped with cheddar cheese sauce and bacon.

“I actually started out with a handful of sandwiches; the basic Reubens and so forth,” Myers said Aug. 21 from inside the shop at 13 S.W. Third Street in downtown Lee’s Summit. “I just sit around and make up sandwiches then I put them on the (daily) special. People are great guinea pigs because if they like them it goes on the menu, then I sit around and make something else up. I truly just make things up.”

Myers will celebrate an open house-style grand opening during business hours (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Aug. 24 to show appreciation to repeat customers and give new customers a sample of some of the treats she dishes at the deli as well.

A self-proclaimed baker, Myers started out making specialty cakes for individual clients before an opportunity to run the deli formerly known as Downtown Deli presented itself. Combining her love of food – she also offers daily take home dinner plates – and baking sweet eats, Meyers re-branded the store as Dawn’s Downtown Deli and Treats.

This was after years spent in public relations, marketing and large scale fundraising.

“I had no intention on running a deli,” she said. “I had a business plan for the last two years to open a restaurant. I knew it required being married to it, so until my kids were raised it just wasn’t feasible. I kind of stumbled into the deli.

“I accidentally started doing cakes two years ago in February. I needed an Xbox cake for my son and I went and got (the ingredients) and I posted it on Facebook. I had no clue people pay for cakes; honest to God. It went crazy. That was on the (February) 21, by the 23 I had 10 cake orders. Literally within days. I didn’t know you had to be trained to do it, I just did it. But, I’m a cook at heart.”

Myers’ friend and sometime volunteer worker, Renee Forbes, labeled Myers as sort of a teacher when it comes to food and how Myers prepares it.

“Customers come in and she always tell them ‘why you choose this bread with this? Or why you need to do a sourdough with tomatoes, why you would want onions with roast beef,’” Forbes said with a smile. “I find out an interesting fact everyday. I actually learn something when I come in here. I really enjoy coming in here. She’s taught me quite a bit about putting things together that I would have never mixed up.”

Added Myers: “Sometimes, they are like, ‘I don’t care, just fix my sandwich.’ I’m a constant student. If I don’t know about a food, I will just go buy it, read up on it, learn the science behind it and make it my own recipe. I’m like a scientist back there.”

A first-time customer, Becky Hathcock of Lee’s Summit, said she stopped in Aug. 21 after receiving positive words about the deli from co-workers.

“It is my first time in here,” Hathcock said. “My working partners said ‘you’ve got to go over to the deli.’ I forgot my lunch today, to tell you the truth, but they said I had to go over to the deli to see what (Myers) has. They said she had a great BLT with avocado, so I think that’s her specialty.”

Myers was not surprised that Hathcock came through based on word of mouth. Most of the deli’s customers are attracted via word of mouth or social media, Myers said.

“I’ve had unbelievable support from Facebook people coming into the deli,” she said. “My Facebook friends – I’ve probably have met a good 100 people off of my Facebook. They’ve been great in supporting me. They come in and some of them have become regulars. It’s nice to see them and visit.

“That’s why I want to do this. I wanted to have joy. And I’m not talking about just joy; I’m talking about bliss in my work. I get to bake, and make sandwiches up and cook dinners for people. I have yet to get tired off it.”

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