Born in the Bronx, a New York City borough with a tough reputation, Frank Spadavecchio lived far from the boot-shaped country of his ancestors. But Spadavecchio, a third-generation Italian, was surrounded by tiny bakeries, meat markets, and delis. When the former pharmaceutical sales representative moved to the Tri-State, he learned that fans of Italian cooking sometimes drove to St. Louis for ingredients. “If I can save you a full day of driving,” he says, “why not?”
He opened Vecchio’s Italian Market and Delicatessen in Newburgh last December, offering a gorgeous selection of imported meats and cheeses, pastries and breads baked in-house, and other specialty ingredients. The small shop also serves lunch: several sandwiches, pizza, quiche, stromboli, and soup. “We’re kind of like the Soup Nazi in a sense,” Spadavecchio says — a minimal menu executed brilliantly, although his eight employees are far more affable than the notorious Seinfeld character.
On a recent Friday, a colleague and I tried the Crazy Alice (turkey with prosciutto, Provolone cheese, and house-made garlic balsamic on focaccia bread) and Not Your Mother’s Grilled Cheese (smoked Gruyère, Swiss, Vermont cheddar, and Muenster grilled on a panini press). Each sandwich cost less than $7 with chips. The grilled cheese sandwich has been a Friday staple since Lent, but otherwise, there’s little rhyme or reason to the daily selections. Relax: Eating at Vecchio’s is like traveling in Italy. Once you arrive, the surprises usually are more fun than anything you expected or planned.