SOUTHINGTON – After years of sitting vacant, a small shop on Liberty Street is open as a deli.
Tammy Liberatore, a Berlin resident, opened Liberty Street Market & Deli a month ago. Many of her customers come to the one-story shop from the surrounding neighborhood.
“I thought it was a great location for a little deli,” Liberatore said. “I liked the design.”
She bought the building in 2014 for $175,000. The floor sloped, insulation was missing and the former location of Al’s Meat Market was a mess. It took years for Liberatore to renovate it.
David Sorgenti, who ordered an egg sandwich on a recent afternoon, said he comes often. He liked how Liberatore had fixed up the building.
“I love to see a place like this,” he said.
One of his favorites, the Italian combo on ciabatta bread, is one of Liberatore’s best-selling items. She offers soups, sandwiches, pizza, pasta dishes and frozen items such as lasagna and meatballs. All her food is fresh and many are from recipes she’s developed.
While Liberty Deli is Liberatore’s first restaurant venture, she’s familiar with the industry since she’s worked as a health inspector. She was surprised at the amount of work it takes to run a restaurant, though.
“It’s a good 12-hour day usually,” she said.
Rick DiBiaso, another area resident visiting the deli, said he remembers buying candy bars and playing pinball at a convenience store at that location when he was young. He’s glad someone has put the building back into use and likes the food.
“Everything’s good, everything’s, fresh,” DiBiaso said.
Liberatore hopes to also sell cold cuts, cheese and other items but first wants to draw customers with her soups, sandwiches and other foods.