WESTPORT, Conn. It may have closed in 1990, but when Art's Delicatessen reopened in Westport on Monday, it didn't look like it had skipped a beat let alone 21 years. And that's exactly what owner Richard Falcone Sr. wanted.
"We tried to keep everything the same," said Falcone. His late father, Arthur, opened the deli in 1969 at the same address. "It's the same exact setup, same menu. The only thing that's different is the imported cheeses we have more varieties, and not just from Italy."
Falcone, a Fairfield resident, worked in the deli with his father. Now, his two sons Christopher and Richard Falcone Jr. are helping him run the deli.
Located at 13 Post Road W. across the street from National Hall, the deli is more than a place to grab a hot or cold sandwich, cheese and meats it's a mini Italian grocer. Inside, visitors will find a wall of imported pastas, olive oils, tomato sauce, glass jars filled with pickles, peppers, olives and mushrooms, and imported sweets, such as biscotti. You can even pick up a carton of milk.
The shop also offers a variety of fresh Italian cookies; grab-and-go breakfast items such as bagels, muffins, coffee and tea; frozen pastas; catering; party subs and platters; and fresh meals to-go.
"I think there's more demand now for dinners to-go," Falcone Sr. said. "These dinners are all homemade, too."
The shop looks so much like it did in its first run that it promoted comments from many first-day visitors, said Falcone Jr. "Everyone said it was like walking into the past," he said. "It's a piece of Westport history, and a piece of family history."
Not only does the deli have the same look and feel, Falcone Sr. said opening day was also just as busy as he remembered the shop. So much so, he said they had to buy more bread by about 2 p.m.
Having worked in the deli with his father, the reopening was bittersweet for Falcone Sr.
"I felt I needed to carry the family business on," he said. "Everyone who came in had their own stories about my father. It was really heartfelt. And now, I've got my two boys working next to me."
The shop will be open every day: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. All major credit cards are accepted. Parking, if not open on the street, is available in the public lot on Wilton Road.
As of yet, there is no website, but a Facebook page is in the works.
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