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New Gilbert deli hires staff with developmental disabilities

(Facebook photo)

A new deli has opened in Gilbert. That’s not a headline, but who they’re hiring is.

Roughly half the staff at the brand new Not Your Typical Deli has autism or another developmental disability.

Sam Irving is the first face customers see as they enter the restaurant.

“My job is to be the host here by greeting people,” Irving, 27, said.

Irving, who has autism, said this is his first job and he finds it’s exciting to get paid.

The restaurant was the brain child of one of the owners, Executive Chef W. Rieth, known as Chef W.

“Never have I had a staff so capable and come together as a team so quickly, be so proud of what they’re doing, show up for work and just do such an awesome job,” Rieth said.

Rieth said this is the best crew he’s ever worked with in his 26 years in the business.

Pam DePalma, whose 16-year-old son also has autism, is another one of the owners.

“We thought this would be a great way to create opportunities for those who have more difficulty getting a job. We see their talents first, autism second.”

DePalma said all the staffers do all the jobs at the restaurant: cooking, serving, dishes, and working the counter.

“What we love is seeing them sitting in the back when they’re on break, talking to each other.”

As a bonus for both customers and staff, Not Your Typical Deli is decorated with artwork created by some of the workers.

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