Ranelli’s Deli and Cafe at 5 Points South turns 50

Ranelli's
Rick and Sarah Ranelli at Ranelli’s Deli and Cafe. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Ranelli’s Deli and Cafe, one of Birmingham Southside’s most treasured eateries, celebrated its 50th anniversary this month.

A Family

Named the best deli in Alabama by the Food Network in 2020, Ranelli’s is more than a neighborhood deli. It’s family.

Owner Rick Ranelli, described the place best.

“We’ve had great support from our customers. They’re almost like our family, our second family. We’ve seen the generations come – from the grandfather to the father to the son, over and over.”

The Food Hasn’t Changed

Ranelli's Deli Cafe
The famous Richman Po’Boy at Ranelli’s. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Famous for the Richman Po Boy and Lasagna Days on Thursdays, the food hasn’t changed much at all for five decades according to Ranelli.

“We’re adamant about keeping our products, the same as it was when we first opened, and I believe that’s been part of our success.  We have people that have been coming in here for 50 years and they say– it still tastes the same as it did when I first came in.”

The Next 50

Ranelli's
Ranelli’s on 20th Street near 5 Points in Birmingham. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Rick and Sarah Ranelli run the deli all by themselves, so they are not sure what is going to happen when they decide to retire. They don’t have children and most of their nephews and nieces are smarter than to go into the business, Rick told me with a laugh. 

“They know how hard we work at it!”

He did turn serious and concluded  our interview with a tribute to his father and mother who started the business 50 years ago.

“It is so worthwhile. I tell people it’s not so much about the living these days as it is preserving my father and mother’s legacy on the wall – to have their name on the wall. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. When somebody comes in and tells us that it was really delicious. That’s what we always set out to do. Make a good product at a reasonable price. It’s been successful.” 

Ranelli's
Raneilli’s, the popular deli was named the best in Alabama by the Food Network. Photo by Pat Byington

Worthwhile

Yes, Rick and Sarah – it has been worthwhile.  Happy 50th Anniversary Ranelli’s on behalf of a very grateful community.


  • Pat Byington

    Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama’s Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama’s cancer risk and mercury standards.