By Jessica King
Like so many Ramona residents, welder Justin Humbert saw his work slump off in the bad economy. Though he could have chosen to dwell on the negative, the 37-year-old instead focused his attention on opening Just-N-Time Deli in the Albertsons Shopping Center.
“I grew up in the restaurant industry and just happened to get the opportunity to go to welding school about 12 years ago and did that and got a job in the welding industry,” said Humbert. “(But) this is where my passion lies. I just never really realized I’d have the opportunity to open my own restaurant. I just really like making good food for people and making them happy with food.”
Humbert, whose youth was spent busing tables and washing dishes before the welding opportunity arose, opened Just-N-Time Deli last Halloween in the space formerly occupied by Ramona Deli.
Humbert picked the location, in part, because he has called Ramona home for the past six years.
“I was very excited to open up here in Ramona and become part of the Ramona community,” said Humbert, who credits the captain of the Ramona High School football team with helping to grow Just-N-Time’s lunch crowd.
Humbert explained the big football player came in asking if the tri-tip sandwich would fill him up. Just in the case, the jock ordered the tri-tip and a pulled-pork sandwich, then later told Humbert the tri-tip was enough. Since then, the Ramona High crowd seems to be growing, Humbert said with a laugh.
Just-N-Time’s menu is small but packed with freshness. The most popular item is the smoked tri-tip sandwich, followed by the fresh turkey sandwich.
Humbert smokes and roasts all his meats in-house, including pork shoulder used for the pulled pork sandwiches. The pulled pork sandwich is topped with cole slaw that Humbert makes his own dressing for and his own barbecue sauce.
Other menu items include the Rockin’ Rueben, which comes with Humbert’s Russian dressing; THE Burger, which comes with beef, pastrami, and grilled onions; and the Turkey Off the Bird, which comes with herb cream cheese and cranberry sauce.
Open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Humbert also serves breakfast sandwiches and Friday and Saturday night dinner specials, including ribs and chicken with beans and macaroni and cheese.
Over the summer, Humbert plans to extend his hours for a later dinner crowd.
Nothing on the menu costs more than $6.50, except for the Friday and Saturday night dinner specials, which run between $8 and $11.
“The one year goal is to be successful and the five year goal is to be in three to five locations,” said Humbert, defining success as having happy customers.