By Ann Donnelly
Matthew Sanchez and Colin Hunt were working together at 9 Miles East Farm in Saratoga when Sanchez got a call from his previous employer, John Cannone, who said that after 39 years as owner of Cannone’s Deli, he was ready to retire. He suggested Sanchez take over.
In August, Sanchez and Hunt became owners of the popular deli at at 654 Saratoga Road, Gansevoort.
Sanchez and Hunt both have had long careers in the food industry. Sanchez attended the French Culinary Institute in the 1990s after working as a chef in the military. Hunt has worked in the kitchens of some of Saratoga’s popular eateries, like Cantina and Druthers.
After taking over at Cannone’s, Sanchez and Hunt closed for just two days to clean and paint, giving the shop a fresh look.
“That is the only drastic change we will make for now. The last thing we wanted to do is come in and upset the apple cart,” said Sanchez. “Loyal customers, the same faces I saw when I worked here five years ago, keep the place going.”
Sanchez said customer tastes haven’t changed that much over the years. “Buffalo wraps and turkey subs are still favorites, but the classic breakfast sandwich is consistently the most popular item, with people ordering all day long.”
Recent additions to the menu include a popular, new selection of salads that are freshly made each morning, including Greek, chef, caesar, and BLT, and grill items, like chicken cutlets. With the colder weather coming, they now offer homemade soups. “We are trying to get creative with special offers, soup and sandwich, and meal combinations,” said Sanchez. “We want to continue to provide food made to order and not grab-and-go.”
Cannone’s uses only Boar’s Head deli meats and Rockland Bakery bread. They stock a range of King Dairy products, including ice cream, and are continually looking to establish relationships with local vendors.
Cannone’s cater for parties and events. “Sandwich platters are common, but we just made up a ‘chili box’ with all the usual accompaniments. The customer loved it.”
Staffing is the biggest challenge for Cannone’s. According to Sanchez, low staffing has meant long work hours, but he is not discouraged. “For the first three months, I knew I’d just put my head down and go.”
Sanchez and Hunt look forward to settling in and putting their stamp on the business with a possible rebranding in the new year. According to Sanchez, “Upcoming property development on this part of Route 9 should significantly benefit the business. There are plans for a new medical center across the road and additional apartments.”
Cannone’s Deli is open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.