Brisbane councillor Vicki Howard

The aftermath of the devastating fire at New Farm Deli. Courtesy: Peter Wallis

THEY say home is where the heart is. When you drive down Merthyr Rd or Brunswick St in New Farm you will see a big red heart outside Merthyr Village — home of our beloved New Farm Deli, the heart of our community.

For more than 40 years, the New Farm Deli has been a place where friends and families come together. A place where you would always be greeted by a warm, friendly smile. A place where you would enjoy the most amazing delicious treats. A place where you felt at home.

At what other establishment can you expect to meet three generations of Italian women on a family outing, children on their way to school or a Judge and Associate from the Courts.

This is a regular occurrence. Regulars that is. And them being lauded by Vince and Maria’s sunny greetings every morning. They pile in, some smiling, some preparing themselves silently for the day ahead.

The place is heaving with noise, the good kind, the kind that’s comforting over breakfast for Maria from Holy Spirit School, Ross and Gerard from the Historical Society, and local identities Anita and Anne.

So it was no surprise that hearts ached in our world on Saturday morning as news broke that our iconic deli had gone up in smoke.

We ached not only for what is an institution in Brisbane, but for Maria and Vince, New Farm Deli’s wonderful owners, and for their magnificent staff, who are like family to them and to our community.

The love which we all have for New Farm Deli, Maria, Vince and their staff will ensure it will always be a part of our community.

Since last Saturday’s terrible news, I’ve been inundated with calls from local residents asking what they can do to help Maria and Vince and their staff.

I know the New Farm Deli family have been greatly touched by this outpouring of support from not only local residents, but from people across the city and state.

It’s not only proof of the wonderful community we have in Central Ward. It’s proof of just how much this inner-city institution has touched the lives of so many people from near and far.

Over the next few weeks and months, I know the community will continue to stand by the New Farm Deli family, hoping and praying for a quick reopening.

And I know all of the other retailers in Merthyr Village, who are still open for business, will be doing everything they can to support their neighbour’s speedy return.

As someone who would visit the deli several times a week for my morning coffee, a delicious home-cooked meal or a sneaky Italian desert, I’ll be doing everything I can to ensure New Farm Deli reopens soon.

The heart of New Farm may have been broken last Saturday morning, but it will not be beaten