By Sue Baldani
Calandra’s Italian Market & Deli has always offered its customers fresh, delicious food, but now its menu is better than ever. Executive Chef Robert Caravaggio has totally revamped it to provide items that you would be hard pressed to find in an average deli.
“We now have close to 150 menu items,” he says. “We make 90% of everything in-house and 100% from scratch, and the other 10% is imported from Italy.” Fresh bread is made multiple times a day just for the deli alone, and fresh pastas and sauces are available to take home.
The menu boards have also been redone to give the deli a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and the breakfast and lunch choices found on them are a foodie’s dream come true. To start your day, there’s a Brûlée French Toast made with baguettes that are soaked in a custard for 24 hours. “And our pancakes are not only huge, but have fresh fruit baked into them,” says Chef Robert. “Our portions are really great – you’re getting quality and quantity.”
For lunch, along with the usual paninis and wraps, you’ll find Italian specialty sandwiches such as a Roman-style porchetta which is slowly baked for six hours and an Italian roasted pork done three ways. It’s marinated for 24 hours and then roasted for four. Mouth-watering!
In addition to fresh foods, there are a variety of imported treasures on its shelves. “I reached out to importers from different regions of Italy, so now when you come in, you’ll see items from the Piedmont and Tuscany regions as well as from Sicily,” he says. “We have items on our shelves that no one around has.”
Everyone receives a warm greeting upon entering, and since 75% of its customers are repeat visitors, the staff prides itself on knowing many of them by name. “Everybody talks about guest services, but it’s another thing to be able to connect with your guests,” says Chef Rob. After being in the food and restaurant industry for 30 years, he says taking care of people is in his and the Calandra family’s DNA.
Calandra’s Italian Market & Deli
234 Bloomfield Ave
Caldwell, NJ 07006
Written for Suburban Essex Magazine in New Jersey.