[L to R: Mario Carbone, Jeff Zalaznick, Rich Torrisi ]
Explain how your business relationship works
Jeff: “The truth is we all do everything. I focus on business and they focus on cooking, but at the end of the day what’s most successful about our partnership, what allows us to do so many different things at the level that we do them at is that we all do our own individual tasks at a high level and we also come together and have a very collaborative process in each of those steps whether its business, whether it’s food, whatever element of the restaurant.
Rich: It’s a very collaborative process
I heard about you guys and was fascinated by your story. There’s so much happening with food in NYC but I thought you were new and innovative. How did your concept develop?
Rich: “Mario and I met when we were 18 year olds studying at the Culinary Institute in upstate New York and have known each other on and off the circuit of NYC’s high end restaurants ever since. We worked together at Daniel Boulud for a while. We were in the same headspace at the same time in our late 20s, and we started talking about the idea of doing something together and when we made that decision we started to move fast. We knew we were only going to have the opportunity to raise money for something super small like this from our family and friends who were all chipping in. We chose to create an Italian American deli because we are very passionate about the deli, it’s something that we thought was dying, it’s something that we knew NYC needed, something that we grew up with and loved.
The whole idea for us was how are we going to open something that we know will at least stay open? The restaurant business here is obviously a treacherous business in NYC, things open and close, and sometimes they don’t even open. Just getting something to open is difficult. And for us to fail just wasn’t an option for us, it kept us up at night. So we decided to take the concept of a deli, and make sandwiches the best way we could.