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B & L DELI

Much More than a Deli
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B&L Deli at Philipstown Square is a business—but it’s also a community center.
 
Early in the morning, the deli serves the crowd in desperate need of a hot coffee and breakfast sandwich as they head off to work. A little later you may find a few workers coming home from their shift, sitting quietly at a table enjoying what for them is dinner. Over the noon hour it may be business people stopping in for a delicious daily lunch special on the way to a meeting or a truck driver squeezing in a made-to-order sandwich between loads. Late afternoon may see the arrival of a group of Haldane students looking for that after school snack. Later yet, it may be someone from a local church picking up a cake that B&L donated in support of a charitable cause, followed closely by the wait service picking up a multi-course dinner for a hundred people at the fire hall.
 
Bob Carpino and Loren Centrello are not only partners in the deli they took over in 1997; they have been married for twenty years. Before establishing B&L they worked in tandem as chefs at Garrison’s Bird & Bottle Inn for 18 years. Loren also did a stint in the kitchen at the James Beard House in New York City.
 
Loren describes the division of labor that she and Bob have carefully devised over the years. “We both do everything,” she said, laughing. They are ably assisted by two of Loren’s nephews, two other part timers, “and Robin, who we bought with the business,” Loren added. Robin worked there even before Bob and Loren took over.
 
“Everything” as Loren puts it, is just that: breakfast, lunch, deli operations, baking, and catering. In addition, B&L’s shelves are lined with many essentials for the home. And there’s an ATM.
 
For daily hot lunch specials you’re apt to find such culinary delights as chicken pot pie, pulled pork sandwich with homemade BBQ sauce, fresh salmon BLT, or chicken-broccoli penne. “We make everything fresh, from scratch,” said Bob. That includes the daily soups—including seafood or lobster bisque, baked potato with cheddar cheese and bacon, and Southwest corn chowder.
 
B&L’s Catering has really taken off. “This is the best Christmas season we’ve ever had,” Bob said. Asked why, he said, “We’ve made a lot of donations in the past three years—to churches and other local groups.” It seems their concern for their community is a key reason for the success of the catering side of the business. “People didn’t even know we did baking before—now they do” said Loren, who added, “We also save people money.”
 
“People no longer have to ask, ‘Do you do [blank]?’ … because they know we do everything,” said Loren. The ten-page catering menu includes hot and cold breakfasts, hors d’oeuvres platters, meat, poultry, fish, seafood, pastas, chilis, wedges, salads, sides, and a wide variety of cakes, pies, and other desserts. While B&L does not deliver its catered meals, they work with a wait service that will pick up orders and serve them for customers’ events.
 
B&L’s baked goods could give any shop specializing in only baking a run for its money. Tarts, cheesecakes, massive pies, cookies, cakes, and more await anyone with a sweet tooth.
 
B&L is in Philipstown Square on Route 9 just south of Fishkill Rd. The entire plaza has undergone a complete facelift and Carpino reported that customers like the results. “Customers love it,” he said. “It’s airy and more homey.” B&L offers four tables for inside eating and also added outside tables last summer, something that went over tremendously well with customers, especially students.
 
Asked about the current economic downturn Bob commented, “We’re keeping our heads above water.” Loren also said that the slowdown in construction in particular, “…hurt us bad,” adding, “But, thank God we have such a loyal customer base. They really are very loyal.”

 

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