Having been in Westport for almost eight years, I am definitely enjoying all the hip, new restaurants popping up like wild mushrooms, from California fusion to country chic. I love the innovative foods, inventive cocktails, the trendy decor and the chance to hang out with people who are far more interesting than I am. But sometimes I crave a little old school, mom-and-pop, and a diversion from my mostly vegetarian ways. After driving past Art’s Deli on the Post Road, I finally went in, and discovered a wonderful new, old place. It seems that in spite of all that has changed, what’s old has become new again. But this time, it’s better than ever.
Richard Falcone, whose father owned the deli back in 1969, worked there until 1990 when his father passed away and the deli closed. He then spent several years in the supermarket industry, only to return to the same spot 20 years later with his sons Christopher and Richard Jr., doing catering and making the same homemade dishes his dad did, like vegetable lasagna and eggplant parmesan. The space is small but sparkling. Imported salami hangs from ceiling. Behind the counter, wheels of cheese and fresh roast beef and turkey are waiting to be sliced. “The ‘old way’ may be actually new for some people used to takeout or fast food, but this is what always I’ve done.” Richard explains. “This is a small family owned business where we make everything from scratch.”
While the family values may be as classic as the pasta, the new store brings an expanded selection of cheeses imported from Italy, France and Holland, which you can smell as you walk in the door. “The difference between people here compared to Europe,” Richard tells me, “is that people over there know where their food comes from.”
The classic Italian Combo is their #1 seller – packed with prosciutto, salami and cheese – is not for vegetarians. But if you feel the urge to cheat every so often, make it worthwhile and do it here. What they don’t make by hand, they import from Italy or get from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, saving you the trip. Other popular items include antipasto salad with organic greens, killer turkey sandwiches, and, of course, lasagna in all its cheesy glory. Because of the huge number of requests, the deli is now stocked with Italian gluten-free bright yellow corn pasta, and many of the old favorites can be modified for those with food allergies, so just ask.
Soon there will be outdoor seating in the back once the rest of the building is renovated, giving customers a view of the water from the other side of the bridge along with a quiet place to sit. Just like the beautiful view that had been overlooked for years, is the idea that smaller scale, good quality, made to order food doesn’t necessarily mean high prices - even in today’s world.
“As far as we’ve come with the selection and convenience of chain stores, the little shops are coming back. This side of the bridge is all changing, in a good way, going back to its roots,” Richard tells me with a smile on his face.
It’s this contrast between old and new, the blend of innovation with tradition and family values that not only makes all the changes going on here great, but stands as a model for the rest of Connecticut. Whether you’re in a rush or have time to spare, we have a hidden gem where you can enjoy a simple turkey and cheddar sandwich, a plate of meatballs, or a chicken parm. Just make sure you get a few extra slices of cheese on the side.
13 Post Road West
203-557-0614 phone orders
No web orders…yet