A Springfield couple took a risk when they opened their own European-style bakery in downtown Springfield, but just a few months later the business has already expanded with a new Italian deli set that hosted a grand opening in December.
Salato Deli first served customers under a soft opening for about a week at 40 N. Fountain Ave., then officially opened for good. For now, the deli specializes in five sandwiches and all of the bread is cooked next door at Le Torte Dolci, which Dan and Lisa Freeman opened in May this year.
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Customers who aren’t sure about trying Italian cold cuts like capicola and prosciutto can also order more traditional meats like turkey and roast beef, Dan Freeman joked. Their long term plan was always to open a deli, he said, but they never thought it would happen so quickly after they opened the bakery next door. But he said the bakery is doing so well the couple decided to take the next step.
“We felt the timing was right,” Dan Freeman said. “The city is in a good place.”
They developed the deli’s decor and menu after visiting businesses in Florence in Italy’s Tuscany region. They said their goal with both the bakery and the new deli was to build a locally-owned business that served items area residents can’t find anywhere else in the area. Lisa Freeman bakes the focaccia bread used for the deli’s sandwiches at Le Torte Dolci, and the majority of the deli meats are imported from Italy.
The deli also serves Rue Farms Rustic Potato Chips, a locally-owned business that started in Springfield just a few years ago. And instead of Pespi or Coke, the fountain drinks come from Pucks, a small company based in New Jersey.
Lisa Freeman thanked the Turner Foundation, which owns the building and helped them get started with both businesses. The couple figured it would be years before they could expand and add the deli, Lisa Freeman said. But they learned about the open space next door just six weeks later and as the bakery business took off, they started planning.
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“They’ve given us our dream twice,” Lisa Freeman said. “It’s been amazing.”
The biggest challenge so far was figuring out how much of each product to keep on hand, but they said the soft opening has helped them figure out the best way to serve their growing lunch crowd more efficiently.
“We wanted to be different,” Dan Freeman said. “We didn’t want to be like anyone else.”