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Releis serve up satisfying fare from heart of Folsom

Community Portrait
By: Laura Newell Telegraph Staff Writer
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Colleen and Bob Relei aren’t your ordinary deli owners. The experienced couple has owned Guido’s Deli in the Folsom Historic District at 300 Reading St. for five years, and calls it an important place for their family and community. “I basically cater to the local community,” said Colleen, 45, chef and owner. “If I have something and can help you out, I’ll sell it to you. Everything is freshly made to order.” Before calling Folsom home 10 years ago, the Releis met 18 years ago in unusual circumstances. The couple met while serving in the military reserve, but because of different rankings, they had to keep their relationship a secret. “I was new and on a two-week training,” Colleen said. “We were both single, got to talking at a dinner and started to get along.” Colleen worked as a communication specialist, Bob was First Sergeant of a field hospital. “It was frowned upon to date a higher rank, so we hid it for eight years,” Bob, 62, said. They recently celebrated 10 years of marriage. While Bob, originally from the Bay Area, is a retired San Francisco Fire Captain with 31 years of service, Colleen had culinary plans for Folsom. After cooking locally in various locations, she made the decision with Bob to open Guido’s Deli six years ago in the old bed and breakfast building, Old Town Inn. The decision to name the deli came from family. “Guido’s is actually a real name, it is Bob’s father,” Colleen said. “We thought it would be a good way to remember him and honor him.” Beyond the name, the couple said they also honor Guido’s strong community work ethic. “With little operations like ours, people take the time and pride in their food,” Bob said. “My dad was a butcher and he taught me that. We have a good relationship with our customers.” Colleen has a degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and said she has a versatile background in Italian meats, global cuisine and wine. “We have all of our specialty fine Italian meats transported from Little Italy near San Francisco,” she said. “Our food is fresh and not out of a can. I make everything from scratch.” She said the deli also provides local specials for customers including deli products, specialty items, catering, personal chef and deliveries for locals and the elderly. “We have a regular who is really busy with work and life, so comes in at least five nights a week for prepared meals,” Colleen said. “She trusts me as a chef and lets me choose her meals. It’s a real compliment.” During the holidays, one specialty item sold by the pound is jumbo red king crab taken directly off an Alaskan boat, Colleen said. “We are small. It’s like a little secret,” Colleen said. “We would help anyone with anything if it’s in our realm.” They explained that because they don’t have to rely on the deli for a living, they don’t have to cut corners to make money. “We are not doing this to survive, we do this to stay productive members of society,” Colleen said. “It gives me a peace of mind to make people happy with my food. I put my heart and soul into everything I do.”