Momma Goldberg’s Deli opened in 1976 in Auburn, a college town in Southeastern Alabama. The original location still operates on the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Donahue Drive, making it the oldest independently-owned restaurant in the city.
For more than 37 years, Momma Goldberg’s has proven to be a successful player in the fast-casual dining market. Vast arrays of customers have grown accustomed to our delicious food and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere. The “old school” deli theme allows customers to create their own sandwiches and salads as well as choose from the appetizing specialty menu. All sandwiches, soups, and salads are made with the freshest ingredients, ensuring a high-quality dining experience.
Momma Goldberg’s has always been a family business. Founder Don DeMent was always a hands-on operator and his can-do attitude started with himself, and often spread to include his family. Off and on throughout the years, Don’s family has joined the staff either officially or unofficially. Don’s wife, Betty, is no stranger to hard work either. She spent many a days, nights and weekends being everything from a sandwich maker to cashier to housekeeper throughout the years. Don’s brother, Mike, has been an active employee through his graphic design career, starting with the Momma Goldberg’s logo and continuing today with designing ads and point of purchase material. Mike also helped run stores in Auburn and Columbus in the 1980s.
In 2007, when the phone rang and the gentleman on the other end had an interesting inquiry, it was Don’s son Jason who first took the call. Jason spoke with the enthusiastic Hal Craig for several minutes before going to get Don. Jason told Don the Auburn graduate on the phone wanted to discuss the possibility of franchising.
“Tell him I’m too old to work that hard and I’m not interested,” Don said. Jason returned to the phone call and after chatting with Hal for several more minutes, he passed the phone to Don telling him he would have to be the one to say no. Persistence and passion paid off in the end, and Don agreed to think about it. Next, it was Don’s turn to make a phone call. For years he and his nephew Keith Schilleci, who worked at Magnolia during his time in college, had talked about working together again. He asked Keith if he would be willing to take a leap of faith, work harder than he has ever worked and become the president of Momma G’s Inc. Keith accepted and in April 2007, the second Auburn location was opened on Thach Avenue.
By December 2007, the first franchise opened in Homewood, Ala., under the direction of Hal Craig, Scott Dean and Justin Edwards. Today the calls keep coming and Momma’s family continues to grow.