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New Downtown Business Offers Sandwiches With A Helping Of Pokes Pride

Owners Toni Stanley and Pete Owen pose in the new Pokes Deli & Outlet shop in downtown Casper on Friday, July 21. The new deli and UW store has had a soft opening, and is now officially open for business. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

When Pete Owen was thinking about business opportunities earlier this year, he called up his old colleague and friend Toni Stanley.

“We were thinking about a little sandwich deli downtown,” recalled Stanley, “and Pete came up with the University of Wyoming licensed apparel idea.”

Six months of hard work has come to fruition in the new Pokes Deli & Outlet at 251 S. Center. The deli and apparel shop, located in what used to be the Blackberry Mountain Gift Shop, breathes new life back to a section in the core of downtown. “For a while this entire block on this side of the street was vacant and empty,” said Owen.


Cynica Lango preps in the kitchen before opening on Friday morning at the Pokes Deli & Outlet in downtown Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Stanley says the idea of combining two businesses in one is a growing trend. “A lot of small businesses are doubling up on two types of income,” said Stanley. “I think it’s a good idea.”

Stanley is using her decades-long experience in the restaurant and culinary business to design the menu. Along with traditional deli sandwiches, she also offers a Cuban and a Chicago style hot Italian beef sandwich. Salads and fresh fruit will also be on the menu. “We’ll be constantly updating our menu to offer variety,” said Stanley. Stanley and Owen have also worked to keep the sandwiches affordable while also elevating the flavor. Most lunch combos are under $10, said Owen.

Many of the UW licensed clothing the store offers are exclusive, according to Owen. “We have University of Wyoming clothing that nobody has,” said Owen, who hopes to attract a wider and younger audience with bold colors and newer designs. “There are so many University of Wyoming alumni in Casper, I felt like it was a good niche business,” said Owen.

The deli and outlet store will have extended hours during the upcoming eclipse festival, said Owen. Owen and Stanley worked to get it open in advance of the eclipse to “work the kinks out,” said Owen.

The business partners, who met 20-years ago while working at the Holiday Inn On the River, are happy to be part of a downtown that is on the upswing. “There are millions of dollars going into downtown right now,” said Owen. “It’s really an exciting time to be here”.

Pokes Deli & Outlet is located at 251 S. Center. Deli hours are 10:30 to 2:00 Monday through Saturday, and retail hours are 10:00 to 5:00 Monday through Saturday. Hours will be extended during the Eclipse Festival, and a breakfast menu is in the works.



The Pokes Deli & Outlet offers bright colors not normally found on University of Wyoming clothing, according to co-owner Pete Owen. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)


Clothing at the new Pokes Deli & Outlet in downtown Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)


Cynica Lango adjusts the open sign at the new Pokes Deli & Outlet in downtown Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)