Happiness on a Plate at PMS Deli

Discovering Food and Fellowship at Popular Virginia Beach-based Deli

by Grace Silipigni

When it comes to dedication, local business owners are in a category of their own. These grassroots entrepreneurs truly live and breathe for their companies. While establishing a strong revenue stream is the goal of every business, money is not the sole indicator of success. For restaurateur Barry Akers, success is always measured by the first bite.

As he watches diners indulge in hot-off-the-press paninis, Akers waits for that moment of pure satisfaction; the moment when diners relax into their seats and focus on nothing other than savoring the dish in front of them. It is then, when his team delivers happiness on a plate, that Ackers sees his business flourish.

Akers is the owner of PMS Deli, a cozy sandwich joint on London Bridge Road in Virginia Beach. Akers acquired the restaurant in 2009 after rounding out a 27-year career in the hotel industry. “I was ready for a change, so PMS Deli went up for sale at the perfect time,” says Akers. “PMS was established in October 2002 by three women. The story goes that one of their husbands made a joke about the name, but it actually stands for Perfectly Made Sandwiches.”

More than two decades later, the PMS crew continues to deliver high-quality handhelds to Southside locals. PMS delicacies include a delicious breakfast spread consisting of egg-centric bowls and hearty meat platters, as well as lunch and dinner options featuring a selection of Boar’s Head creations, flatbread pizzas and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. “We aren’t the cheapest in the area, but that’s because quality is our thing. It’s what our customers expect. All of our salads are freshly made in house, as well as our potato, pasta, macaroni, tuna and chicken salads. Our rolls, cookies and cupcakes are freshly baked throughout the day too,” explains Akers. “We really take the time to prepare, shop for and inspect the food we serve to our customers.”

The PMS menu isn’t exclusive to dine-in guests, but is also offered as a catering option for business luncheons and holiday parties. “Catering is slowly making a comeback as people return to the office. Our catering services are unique in that customers don’t have to stick to our standard menu. We can go outside of the box,” says Akers. “Our catering specialists really enjoy large events - think 700 box lunches and full holiday meals during Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Akers applauds his humble staff of nine for their unwavering commitment to PMS and its customers. “Several of my employees have been with me for years. I offer flexible schedules and competitive pay. [Things like that make] them want to come to work and truly enjoy doing their jobs,” says Akers. “They are all trained to do everything, but everyone has their specialty. Amy Matienzo is the restaurant manager and has worked here for 20 years, and Anne Zimmerman manages the PMS Pantry, [the deli’s retail cabinet stocked with seasonal goods].”

Akers extends a thank you to his customers, particularly the servicemen and women of the nearby Naval Air Station Oceana. “We try to do a lot for the community,” says Akers. “We open our restaurant as a meeting venue for local organizations, source produce from nearby farmers and reward guests with our frequent diner guest program.”

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