An interview with Anthony Pascarella, Owner of Pascarella Bros Deli
What led you to open your deli in Chatham?
I grew up in Madison, and am raising my family in Chatham. My daughter graduated from Chatham High School, and my 2 sons are still in school here. When my brother and I decided to open our own deli 12 years ago, we knew that this was the perfect place to do it. The sense of community and support for local businesses here is amazing.
How did you handle it when COVID changed the way Chatham did business?
At first, we weren’t sure what to do. Customers were worried about coming into the store, and my employees were worried about coming to work. Our catering jobs, a large part of our business, disappeared overnight. But after the first week or two, we realized that people were already tired of cooking every meal, and wanted options. So, we tried a few different things. Early on, we sold staples like milk, eggs, and bread so our customers didn’t have to go to the grocery store.
Then we added our pickup window at the front of the store. Customers could call in an order, then pick it up at the window without having to come inside. That worked really well for both my customers and my employees, and allowed everyone to feel safer. I still can’t believe people were willing to stand outside, in the winter, to pick up their meals. While this was a very hard time to be a deli owner, the support we received from the Chatham community was overwhelming, and really helped us survive.
What lessons have you learned over the past year?
The thing that still amazes me is how strongly the Chatham community supports its local businesses. From people ordering out more than normal to make sure local spots had customers, to the formation of FLAG (Front-Line Appreciation Group) right here in Chatham, this town is fantastically supportive of restaurants. It made all the difference in the world to us, and so many other small businesses.
We’re expanding into the space next door, which is exciting. It will give us space for people to sit down and eat together, now that we can do that again. We’ll also use it for private events – the space can hold up to 50 people. We’ll also add more table in front of the building, so anyone who wants to eat outside can continue to do that. I love feeding people, and I’m incredibly lucky I get to do that every day.
Head to pascarellabros.com to check out all the delicious-ness that Pascarella Bros has to offer!