Thirty-two-year employee is the recipe for deli success

March 1, 2024

Dana Goode Photo provided

FLINT TWP. — Daily, for the last 32 years, Dana Goode has been preparing the fresh offering for the deli at Dale’s Natural Foods at 4290 Miller Rd.

She starts chopping her ingredients at 6:30 a.m. every day to create a wide variety of salads, soups, entrees, and baked goods for their vegetarian deli.

Goode is not a vegetarian herself, but she loves to cook. She worked for a food service company for seven years before finding the job at Dale’s Natural Foods in the newspaper.

Coincidentally, Goode’s great grandmother worked at the original downtown store in Flint, Dale’s Foods for Health, which was opened by current owner Drew Wolfe’s grandfather in 1947.

The deli, which started when the current location was opened in 1987, continues to get busier and busier.

“There are not many healthy places to eat in the area and customers appreciate what she does every day,” Wolfe said.

Goode creates food with every color of the rainbow. She said she is always searching for new recipes and inspiration to keep the offering fresh and innovative.

She said she appreciates that owners Drew and Mara Wolfe give her a lot of creative freedom to do whatever she wants.

“I like making unusual dishes that people don’t typically make. My favorites are those that are mediterranean inspired and colorful,” Goode said. “I simply love preparing food our customers enjoy.”

Goode’s hard work, dedication, and creativity is the backbone of the deli’s tremendous success, according to owner Drew Wolfe.

“It’s her that makes it,” he said.

Most customers order salads and soups but the entrees are popular too. Some of the most popular entrees are lasagna and country fried chik (soy) with potatoes, gravy, and green beans. Especially this time of year, the deli sells a lot of soups.

Goode makes two different soups a day and all of them sell well. Some of the regular favorites are red lentil, gypsy stew, and chili.

Goode said she does all the baking too.

“Today I baked vegan gluten free peach bars, oat bars with blueberry and pistachio, cookies with peanut butter, chocolate, and walnuts, and coconut banana bread, which is one of the regular favorites,” she said.

Goode said she feels deeply connected to the Wolfe family and their employees.

“It’s like home here,” Goode says, “The best people to work for. The employers are there for you. They’re like family.”

Dale’s Natural Foods has four employees that have worked for them for more than 30 years. “There is another gal here who’s been here longer than me, thirty-four years, we really get to know each other like family,” Goode said.

Goode grew up in Mount Morris, graduated high school from there, and now lives in Clio.

She said she has a big close-knit family with her five siblings, eight children combined with her current husband, and seven grandchildren.

When asked if she will retire soon, Goode says, “No, probably not. I’ll go as long as I can go.”

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