If you’ve seen one New York City deli, you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve seen them all.
They’re a staple on street corners across the five boroughs, providing no-frills coffee, bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches to New Yorkers in search of a quick, affordable meal.
But at Datz Deli in Queens, customers line up for hours to sample owner Joshua Dat’s classic deli offerings.
The 31-year-old opened Datz’s Deli in December 2022 with the idea of spice up New York staples like Jamaican beef patty with flavors from his father’s native Guyana.
“I wanted to be different,” Dat says on the final installment of the CNBC Make It series “On The Job.” “I wanted to give people something new to experience.”
Datz Deli’s biggest draw is the DatMacPatty, which is a beef patty stuffed with shredded oxtail and mac and cheese.
Visitors to the Queens institution line up for the DatMacPatty, a Caribbean-style beef patty stuffed with homemade macaroni and cheese. Other pie items It features cooked and shredded oxtail, curried beef and jerk chicken.
Side dishes on the menu include fried plantains and jalapeño poppers and spinach. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, Dat offers deep-fried Oreos with a choice of caramel or chocolate drizzle.
The deli has developed a cult following on social media, of over 50,000 followers Instagram And countless TikToks highlight its unique offerings.
The popularity has turned the family business—Dat employs his parents, brothers, uncle, nephew, and a few close friends—into a financial success. Datz Deli brought in a total of $300,000 in May and June, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It, and is expected to bring in $1.2 million in 2023.
“I would have to pay about $355,000 in taxes if that was the case,” Dat tells Make It. “You know what they say: more money, more problems.”
But not all profit. In addition to his $3,100 rent bill, Dutt estimates he spends $15,000 a month on oxtail alone. He pays himself and his brother $1,500 a week, while his crew members take in between $800 and $1,000.
Datz Deli is a family business
Its growth far exceeded any expectations Dat had when he made his initial investment of $70,000—$60,000 for the property lease and $10,000 for start-up costs and components—to get the business going.
But Dutt and his family didn’t let success get to their heads.
“We’ve always been hard-working people,” he says. “It’s just such a humbling and blissful experience. I’m so grateful for everything that’s going on.”
For the full story of how Dat and his family made their beef pie dreams a reality, check out CNBC’s latest Make It On The Job.
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