CHESHIRE — There are a few things in town that are quintessentially Cheshire. Most locals still frequent the same shops and restaurants that they have been for years, adding to the unique small-town charm. One business, a popular breakfast spot, celebrated its 100th anniversary on Saturday.
The Notch Store has been overlooking Waterbury Road for 100 years, and owner Frank Salvatore is excited to share the milestone with the town that has given his family so much.
“This place started off as just a grocery store out of my grandmother’s house just next to this here,” he said. “My grandfather worked as a miner and worked on the mountain across the street. Then they expanded to what it is now, and it’s been in my family the whole time.”
Pauline Salvatore, Frank’s grandmother, sold just about everything out of her general store.
“We still have some of the old signs up around the shop, just to remind people what we started as,” Salvatore said.
Over the front door of the building, an enameled metal “Oleomargarine Sold Here” sign greets people as they walk in. Scattered on the walls inside are more old signs, such as one that reads “Be Healthy, Drink Milk.” Nearby is a vintage Hartford Whalers clock.
When Salvatore took over the family business in the 1950s, he changed it from a corner store to a deli.
“We had to change with the times,” Salvatore said. “I employed nearly every single Cheshire High kid who lived around here back then.”
Currently, The Notch Store is a breakfast sandwich hotspot. On any given morning, one can always find a small crowd enjoying egg sandwiches.
“People have really grown to love it here, and I certainly can’t blame them,” Salvatore said. “We love this town — it’s been really good to us.”
On Saturday, the shop was scheduled to be closed for regular business, but at 1 p.m. townsfolk were invited to stop by for a free hot dog.
Salvatore expected relatives from all over the country to join in the celebration.
“We really hit our stride with the breakfast sandwiches,” he said. “We’ve even done well during this pandemic — surprisingly, we’re actually doing better (than we’ve ever done).
“We’ve always been a sort of take-out, grab-and-go place,” he added. “Now with the pandemic, people will call ahead of time and order two or three sandwiches for the whole family, whereas before they might just come in and buy one for themselves.”
While Salvatore did not express any intentions of leaving any time soon, he can now rest a little easier knowing the impact he has made on the town and the community he has served for so long.
“This was the benchmark,” he said. “I wanted to get to 100 years. I am in my 70s now and I guess I could retire finally if I wanted. It’s all smooth sailing from here.”
The Notch Store, located at 905 Waterbury Road, is open Monday–Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., closed Sunday. Sandwich specials are posted daily on the eatery’s Facebook page: facebook.com/thenotchstore.