Skip to Primary Content

Publix Deli beginnings

The Publix Deli has many familiar classics, such as Pub subs, fried chicken and other ready-to-eat items. The evolution of the deli started several delicious decades ago. 

As Publix expanded through the 1950s and 1960s, lunchmeat and cheese selections were introduced as part of the meat department. In 1967, those items were moved to their own section of the store called the delicatessen. Publix introduced new signage and refrigerated cases for its first full delicatessen, installed in a store in Tallahassee, Florida, ahead of its grand opening on May 27. 

Seeing a growing need for prepared meals for families, Publix developed fast yet substantial fresh-made salads and hot-meal offerings to add to the cold cuts, cheeses and pickles already on sale. These items could be found in “The Deli”; Publix began updating its signage in the mid-1970s. 

In the late-1970s, “tailgates” began popping up at many sporting events around the country. Publix was inspired by this idea, and in 1979 debuted four different colorful boxed meals that included chicken, barbecue, sandwiches or cold cuts and cheeses. These boxes have transitioned many times in recent decades but are known today as family combo meals. 

Publix’s subs and fried chicken made their grand debut in the 1990s, along with another rebrand — “Publix Deli.” The first custom “sub shop” and sandwich menu board was found at store #33 in Marietta, Georgia, in 1992. The popular Publix fried chicken recipe first hit the fryers in Atlanta Division stores in the late 1990s. Both items were eventually rolled out companywide and have become customer favorites. 

Today, the Publix Deli continues to offer new meal options, appealing to customers looking for a delicious meal for lunch and dinner. 

Category

* Subject to Publix’s Media Use Policy. Editorial use only. Content remains the property of Publix and will be removed in Publix’s discretion. All rights reserved.

Asset Description Download Link
Publix associates making the Pub subs Download*
Display cases in the Publix Deli Download*
Publix Deli in 2022 Download*