Sensory overload in Madison – Ella’s Deli

Being a brand consultant, I am always on the lookout for amazing brands. A commonly held misconception about brands is that a company has to be big in order to have a great brand. I find that there is very little correlation between the size of a company and the greatness of a brand. A big company can have a great brand, and a big company can have a lousy brand. A small company can have a great brand, and a small company can have a lousy brand. If anything, it is actually easier for a small company to have a great brand than a large one.

My step-brother Eric, and his wife Lynn, introduced me last night to a wonderful brand in Madison WI — Ella’s Deli. They have an adopted son, Steebie, who is nearly three years old. They took me out to dinner here, and I could tell that this place was different, just pulling up to the parking lot. I’ve attached a photo and a link to their web site… but this is one of those cases where you just have to experience it to understand it. The web site doesn’t even come CLOSE to conveying the experience that this small, family-oriented establishment is. And the best part of all… it was PACKED! And it was LOUD!

The menu is quite adorable, homey, features local menu items, and is somewhat reminiscent of a diner menu. But the really amazing part about this eatery are the gadgets, toys, and displays covering every square inch of the interior… and a working carousel outside to boot. There are a number of flying figures inside, including Bart Simpson, Batman, and Harry Potter. There is something interesting and unique inside every table. We sat at an electric toy-train table where the train actually moved. We also saw Monopoly embedded in another table, a display of PEZ dispensers in another, and a giant castle scene in another. Basically, this place is a child’s toy fantasy come true.

A fantastic brand where the families of Madison can have a great meal at a great price, and their kids can enjoy the near-chaos of every imaginable toy, gadget and doodad constantly in motion. A wonderful sensory overload experience! Ella’s Deli – there is no place else like it in the world!


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