The sun is shining, and business is booming at Sessions West Coast Deli, which overlooks North Lake in Woodbridge Village.
“This is our go-to lunch spot,” says Brian Patrick, as the waitress delivers a Summer Zephyr (the Orange County Register’s “sandwich of the year”) to the table. “We never stopped coming here, but now there’s a reason to celebrate.”
The positive vibe comes after a tremendous wave Sessions has ridden for the past 16 months – a challenging time for diners and restaurateurs.
Owner Matt Meddock says the only way the restaurant could have ridden this wave was with support of the community and dedicated staff.
“I’ve got a lot of love for Irvine,” he says. “This is my hometown, and these people just mean so much to us. It gives us a ton of pride to be open and serve this community.”
Sessions’ blend of community spirit and innovation helped it buck conventional wisdom. The restaurant had its best year on record.
It doubled sales from 2019 across its four Orange County stores. Meddock was able to keep essentially all full-time employees (he even stopped paying himself in order to maintain his payroll).
“Our customers were awesome,” he says. “One woman put seven of her favorite restaurants on rotation. She ordered from one each day of the week. How cool is that?”
Online sales doubled, and his loyalty program, which rewards patrons for regular purchases, quadrupled its participation.
Today, many of those who ordered online are now enjoying a patio that’s full of energy. The patrons are a mix of professionals on lunch breaks and families that linger a bit longer to take in the perfect weather.
“Sessions is like the ‘Cheers’ of delis … The people here are just incredible.” – Brian Patrick, patron
“Sessions is like the ‘Cheers’ of delis,” says Patrick, from his regular spot on the patio. “My business partner and I come here every Thursday to plan the coming week. We’ve gotten to know the staff, and the people here are just incredible.”
Inside, an upbeat playlist keeps the kitchen staff and customers entertained.
And Meddock could not be happier.