BSGE students see her every day as she hands them their iced coffee, BLT, or change. Though she seems to just be the face behind the cash register for most, but there is much more to her and the deli than its french fries and bagels.
Holly, whom people may know as “Mimi” or “the deli lady,” owns the family-run Mimi 36 Deli Grocery, which is also known as the deli across the street from BSGE. She moved to America from South Korea in 1986 and notes the differences between the two countries. “There are a lot of jobs,” she said, referring to America. “And Korea is very fancy, but over here it’s a little regular.” Even though she observes that there is much more litter in America compared to South Korea, she still enjoys being here, saying that it is very nice to live in the States.
The deli has been open for twelve years, making it only a little younger than BSGE. Mimi was able to establish the deli with help from her brother and sister in law, from whom she learned about business. Although she lives in Elmhurst, which is a twenty-minute drive away, she and her family settled in Astoria for the deli. She was told by her neighbors that Astoria was a nice neighborhood, considered to be a “second Manhattan.” However, the location is not her favorite part about working at the deli. Instead, Mimi says that the customers are the best part of it. “They don’t bother me,” she explains. This is also why she likes being near the school, saying that “the kids are nice, and they say hi to me.”
But there is more to Mimi and her family, especially when the deli closes at 5:30 p.m. every night. At home, she eats some of her favorite homemade Korean dishes such as bulgogi and gimbap. While she loves the Korean food that she grew up with, she also considers Mexican food to be one of her favorite cuisines, mentioning her preference for tacos. Additionally, she likes window-shopping and putting puzzles together with her family.
So next time your order your tea or cream cheese bagel, ask Mimi about her favorite foods, simply say hello!