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Storm destroys $20K worth of inventory at Berkeley deli

KRON San Francisco 3/26/2023 Amanda Hari
© Provided by KRON San Francisco

BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) — A Berkeley business is trying to keep its doors open after they were hit hard by recent storms. Delirama lost electricity for days, ruining thousands of pounds of meat.

The owners tell KRON4 they are trying to do everything they can to stay open. They’re hoping their customers will remain patient and supportive.

People walked up to the front of the deli — only to find a sign letting people know that they have no pastrami because they had no power.

More than 3 days without power destroyed all of Delirama’s inventory.

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Co-owners Cash Caris and Anahita Cann looked over the 2,000 pounds worth of meat. That is literally a ton of beef that needs to be tossed out.

The Berkeley business lost electricity during Tuesday afternoon’s storm, and they didn’t have any way to save their inventory. With no generator, dry ice is dangerous, and moving it was out of the question.

“Any time you transport large quantities of meat you pose a health risk,” Caris said.

The meat needs to stay at a certain temperature, which is difficult to maintain in transit and even more difficult to find somewhere to bring 500-pound barrels filled with meat and water. So, the owners sat, waiting and hoping the power would come back on.

“PG&E would send a lot of updates like the estimated restoration time is this or this, and every time it would just keep getting extended out,” Cann said.

“It was really an emotional roller coaster,” Caris said.

Delirama has only been open since August.

“We’re a small business, we don’t even pay ourselves yet. We’re working to try and build our brand and anchor ourselves in this community,” Caris said

The owners aren’t sure this is a storm they can weather.

“That’s over $20,000 worth of inventory that would in turn make us over $100,000 dollars in revenue,” Caris said.

By the time the power came back on Friday, it was too late to save the pastrami. They’ve started a GoFundMe to help cover some of their losses.

But they still have to clean the entire facility, fix their storm-damaged freezer and start brining again.

Caris estimates it could be almost a month before they can get back to business.

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“We’re going to do our best to pull through this. Because we want to be here. We love the neighborhood, we love our customer base. Our patrons are like our family,” Caris said.

The owners tell me they may do pop-ups to help cover their bills. They’ve promised to keep their fans updated on their recovery, on their website, and social media.

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