REVERE – For more than fifty years, the Petruzzelli family has owned New Deal Fruit in Revere.
“We’re third generation. My grandfather started in the business, then my father and his brothers. Now it’s me and my brothers,” said Yano Petruzzelli, speaking for brothers Nicholas and Domenic.
Sure, this place carries the freshest, juiciest fruit you’ll ever eat, but there’s plenty more than produce – like pastas, groceries, Italian specialty products, and a deli serving up sandwiches that are guaranteed great.
“You’re gonna get the best sandwich,” Domenic said. “I challenge anybody to try to make a sandwich half as good as I can make one.”
The deli at The New Deal is a constant blur of activity and with dozens of cold cuts and cheeses to choose from, the slicers are constantly cranking. The only things bigger than the muscles on the guys pushing the slicers, are their mouths.
“My guys have the biggest mouths there are,” Domenic said proudly. “So if you come in and you ‘ah ah ah ah’ and you’re not sure what you’re ordering, they’ll push you aside and say ‘who’s next?'”
Since the New Deal has a ton of serious sandwiches to choose from, ordering can be a challenge for first timers. Experienced workers, like Dom’s nephew, Yano can always spot a newbie.
“I can tell because they have different body language,” the younger Yano said. “They come in, they’re nervous, they don’t really want to speak because they don’t want to get yelled at, because that’s what their friends told them.
“We’ll be able to see it, and I’ll usually say, ‘what do you feel like?’ because I bother the people. But if a familiar face comes in here, they know what they want. Most of the time we know what they want, so we just start doing it for them.”
The New Deal’s subs are big, beautiful, and always over-stuffed, like the The North Ender, packed with provolone, eggplant, meatballs, sauce, and grated cheese.
“When you bite into it, you get a crispiness from the eggplant being fried, and a softness from the meatball, and you can taste the grated cheese on the top, a little sharp pungent flavor of it. It’s a work of art,” declared Dominic.
Another great choice is the West Ender, a melty mash-up of provolone, sausage, and broccoli rabe.
“The sausage just bursts with flavor in your mouth, and I use a cheese and garlic sausage, so you really taste the garlic and the cheese and then there’s a little bit of spiciness to it.”
“You’re not gonna eat this sandwich in your car. You need two hands, a desk, and a lot of napkins,” Yano added.
For a true meat masterpiece, nothing beats The Eastie, which is a steak and cheese, spiked with Italian sausage and pepperoni. It’s the kind of sandwich that will satisfy even the most hardened hunger.
“Like I just got out of prison and I’m starving, and I haven’t had a sandwich in five years, here it is,” Domenic joked. “I want it, nobody bother me, I want my bag of chips, I want my soda, and nobody talk to me for an hour.”
Some sandwiches are sort of standard and others are completely outrageous, like The Double Play, which piles golden chicken cutlets atop perfectly pink roast beef. It’s a combination Dom created to soothe a particularly heavy hangover.
“Yeah, sometimes when you’re hungover, roast beef just isn’t enough. You need a little bit more to get that hot, salty flavor to cure you from the hangover.”
And if your hangover needs even more help, just upgrade from the Double Play to a Triple Play, which adds onion rings and French fries onto the sandwich.
“The Triple Play is a young guy’s sandwich, you know what I mean,” Dom said. “You gotta be 33 and down, I think, because if you’re an older guy and you eat that – you’re dead for a month.”
Out of every sandwich they make at New Deal, no sub will satisfy like the Top Shelf. Each bite is like a gourmet journey through Italian cold cut heaven. It’s literally three slices of everything on their deli top shelf, Yano explained.
“It’s a sliced Genoa salami, a pepper salami, pepperoni, chorizo, a Denunzio salami, hot and sweet soprasata, salami prosciutto which is very rare -has a nice old school salami flavor from the 60’s. I’m not from the 60’s but that’s what my grandfather told me.”
Whether you come to the New Deal for a great sandwich, some fresh fruit, or just a taste of the way things used to be, the Petruzzelli family will treat you like family.
“I probably know 80 percent or 90 percent of the people’s names that come in here,” Dominic said. “If I don’t know them, I call you ‘cuz’. That’s how we feel about everybody. Everybody’s a cousin, everybody’s related. People we know, we see every day – ask how your father is, how your mother’s doing, how’s your brother, your sisters, kids. That’s how this place is. That’s how all businesses should be.”
New Deal Fruit can be found on 920 Broadway in Revere.
Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.
MORE FROM PHANTOM GOURMET