WALLINGFORD — While driving through Kingston, in New York’s Ulster County, local resident John Violette stopped at a deli for lunch. He asked for a grinder, but his request wasn’t granted.
“They told me, ‘hey boy, we don’t have grinders here,’ ” Violette said.
Instead, they sold wedges, another term for the deli sandwich often referred to in Connecticut as a sub or grinder. Every region of the country has a different name for the deli sandwich, Violette said, but wedge stuck with him, so much so that when he opened his own deli in mid-June on Route 5 he named it Wedges Deli.
The deli, in the plaza at 850 S. Colony Road, offers cold and hot wedges, wraps, soups and salads. Violette also sells freshly made breakfast sandwiches, omelets and coffee. The deli opened on June 23.
Opening his own deli “was my dream,” Violette said.
Violette, 44, was raised in Wallingford and graduated from Sheehan High School. Prior to opening the deli, he worked as a truck driver for Tilcon, a supplier of crushed stone, asphalt and concrete. But the construction industry “fell off” during the recession, he said, forcing him out of work. Violette loved to cook at home, and everyone in his family always told him he should open his own restaurant.
With support from his loved ones, “I decided it was my time,” he said.
Wedges is a family-run business, with Violette’s wife Rebecca and son Jonathon helping out part time.
“I work here in the morning to help out,” Jonathan Violette said. The 23-year-old works a second shift job in Meriden as well. He said the deli was his father’s dream, and he has been a big supporter of the business.
“I back him 100 percent,” Jonathan Violette said. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.”
While there is plenty of competition in Wallingford, Violette said, “I think we’re going to give them a run for their money.”
The deli caters to the lunchtime crowd, located near several factories in the south end of Wallingford. Violette said he liked the location because “there wasn’t much going on in the area” in terms of competition.
“I was really looking to get in down this way,” he said.
There is only one small table at the deli to date, but Violette plans to install additional seating so customers can dine in if they choose. So far, “we’ve had good feedback from our customers,” Violette said.