common / Restaurants

Pete's Hometown Grocery

Tim Greco

Pete’s Hometown Grocery, in Nelsonville, has offered affordable, home-cooked food for the past 25 years – as well as an eclectic assortment of worms for the fisherman.

At Pete’s, you will find the prices to be very reasonable, and all the food is cooked fresh on site, except for the bread, which is shipped fresh from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Pete Knapp recently recalled 25 years of ownership with his wife, Mary Jo.

“I started working here back in the ‘70s, managing the store, and when the previous owners retired, Mary Jo and I decided to buy it from them in 1987,” he said.

For breakfast, Pete’s serves the good old standbys, like bacon, sausage, or ham, egg and cheese sandwiches. French toast and pancakes are hot off the griddle. 

For lunch, an assortment of deli sandwiches are available, along with side salads.

Pete’s also offers a variety of specials, including Mary Jo’s brown bag special, which consists of a sandwich, a drink and a bag of chips—all for just $5. The homemade soup and sandwich special is still very popular with both new and returning customers.

Mary Jo said, “I put together a new menu every week; it’s constantly changing.”

Pete’s also does catering. Pete’s is also a grocery store in the classic sense, with candy, ice cream and magazines, greeting cards and many household items.

Pete’s could be called a fisherman’s best friend, as fishing tackle is sold in abundance, including hooks and a varied assortment fishing worms. With blood worms, meal worms, night crawlers and trout worms, you are sure to catch something out there.

Store hours are Monday through Friday 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.., 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Sadly, with the recent downturn in the economy, owners Peter and Mary Jo Knapp are finding it hard to keep their heads above water. But even though times are tough, Mary Jo said, “We keep on trucking.”

Mary Jo commented on their struggle to stay open: “We are fighting to stay alive and I’m constantly trying to figure out what to do. People tell me it’s bad all over; it’s not just here.” 

Surprisingly, most of Pete’s customers are out-of-town commuters who stop in on the way to the train. Besides a group of local retired men who meet in the morning, they don’t see much local business.

Even though times are hard, Mary Jo still has maintains a quick sense of humor: “Many local restaurants get hikers who come in, but the only hikers we get are those who get lost.”

Mary Jo has currently had to take on more hours her job at a local nursing home to keep things afloat. Pete has had some serious health issues, including having recently undergone major surgery. 

Philipstown residents have always rallied the troops when one of their own is struggling, so if you’re reading this you might want to stop in at Pete’s for a second look, a sandwich or dozen nightcrawlers.

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