Hometown deli accepts Charger Cash

Samantha Mathewson

Italian home-town deli aims to create a University of New Haven community within his store.

“Our target audience is UNH students,” said Charlie Provenzano, owner of Provenzano’s Deli.

The deli is located on 153 Saw Mill Rd. in West Haven, Conn. across from the West Haven train station; indirectly along the UNH Shuttle loop.

Last year Provenzano’s Deli started accepting Charger Cash, however many students were not aware of this perk, so the inflow of UNH customers is not where Provenzano would like it to be.

Inside view of Provenzano’s Deli (Photo by Samantha Mathewson/Charger Bulletin Photo)
Inside view of Provenzano’s Deli (Photo by Samantha Mathewson/Charger Bulletin Photo)

“We are going to have a ‘Charger Sandwich Challenge,’” said Provenzano.

This challenge will give students the opportunity to design and build their own sandwich, choose a name and compete to see which creation sells the most.

“First prize will receive $100 and second prize will be $50,” said Provenzano. “They will be featured in the menu, and the winner will be chosen based on how many sell, which will be kept track of by tally.”

Winners will also get their created sandwich, complimentary of Provenzano’s Deli, weekly for one semester.

Provenzano’s Deli is completely family owned and operated, where Provenzano works with his two sons and two nephews.

The deli has been open for 16 months, during which it has quadrupled the sales of the previous owners of Poppy’s Deli.

“We had to shut down for two months (after we bought the place) to completely renovate,” said Provenzano.

Provenzano’s Deli received a 95 percent cleanliness rating from the Health Department.

“Everything is home-cooked,” said Provenzano. “Chicken Cutlets are made fresh every day, (in addition to) our sausage and peppers.”

Provenzano works for an Italian importer, so there are also authentic Italian canned delicacies on display and for sale, throughout his deli.

Their bread is also made fresh everyday and delievered from the Bronx, NY, and their cheeses are imported from Italy.

Their fresh chicken cutlet sandwich is the deli’s most popular sandwich, and because it is, they feature a different cutlet sandwich everyday on their specials menu.

“Our menu is a suggestion board,” said Provenzo, who leaves his customers some creative when designing their meals. “We have it all, and we throw everything on at no additional cost.”

Provenzano’s Deli also features season specials, and soon hot meals will be making an appearance on their menu. This includes a variety of soups, ravioli, meatloaf, lasagna, corn beef and cabbage, penne alla vodka and much more.

Provenzano’s Deli also caters and sponsors local sports teams such as West Haven High School’s hockey team and Notre Dame’s High School teams.

The deli has got many compliments; Provenzano was shocked, since he was just doing what his family had taught him. “I was 35 years old, and I thought the whole world cooked liked this,” said Provenzano. He explained how he learned while being told by his grandma and mom to grab ingredients while they were cooking. “I didn’t realize I was learning at the same time, we just cook, all of us,” said Provenzano.

The deli features speciality sandwiches that were created by the family and uniquely named by them, too.

“Alania Marie,” named after his daughter and newly added is one example, but other names include “The Nana” and “Gangster Wrap.”

In addition to sandwiches and hot meals, the deli also sells breakfast items, specialty salads, snacks, coffee and much more.

“We have a tremendous amout of regulars,” said Provenzano. “A lot of old-timers and veterans. So we know once kids come here, they are coming back.”