A marvelous new emporium has opened on the site of the Trunz market. Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace, at 364 Port Washington Boulevard, recently held its grand opening celebration.
The talented chef Pia, whom we remember from Trunz, proudly passes around Uncle Giuseppe's fresh, store-made mozzarella. In the background is an array of fresh produce, including organic.
Uncle Giuseppe's, as the name implies, is a specialty store with an emphasis on Italian-style offerings. They also offer a full range of "ordinary" supermarket items such as produce, meats, fish, canned and packaged goods, paper goods, dairy, other ethnic foods and flowers. One of the customers described it as "a cross between Trunz and Razzano's." Another more colorfully said, "It's like Trunz on steroids."
The "deli" section is the highlight of Uncle Giuseppe's. In addition to the usual deli offerings of Boar's Head cold cuts, cheeses, a variety of salads, and the like, there is a wide array of ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat selections. Everything is freshly made on premises by the chef and three cooks, who do nothing but prepare food. Former Trunz customers will be pleased to learn that Pia is back at Giuseppe's cooking up her delicious specialties. Among the deli's offerings on opening day (to name just a few) were stuffed eggplant, eggplant rollatini, grilled portabellas, baked stuff clams, various pasta dishes, and a number of soups and sauces. We took home the eggplant rollatini, which was delicious-moist and savory. We also sampled the corn chowder, which was definitely not run-of-the mill; it was redolent with a light onion and garlic flavor. It was creamy without being heavy, and there was not a hint of starch.
For those who prefer to cook from scratch, Giuseppe's offers many varieties of packaged pastas, canned and bottled tomatoes and tomato sauces, balsamic vinegar, and olive oils. (Our personal favorite, Colavita, was on special for $8.99 for a 32-ounce bottle of the olive oil and two 17-ounce bottles of balsamic for $5.)
There is also a wonderful assortment of accompaniments. We spotted no less than 10 different kinds of olives in bulk, as well as many bottled varieties. The array of cheeses was outstanding, and included the popular bufala, different types of brie, aged parmigiana Reggiano, provolone, gouda, regular and smoked mozzarella and many, many others. The day we visited, Giuseppe's was passing around trays of their made-in-store (plain) mozzarella. It's the best we've had since the latticini on Thompson Street in Greenwich Village. There is also a variety of breads from Arthur Avenue. (Sometimes called the "Little Italy" of the Bronx, and home to some of the best Italian markets and bakeries in the Metro area.) In addition, one can purchase nuts, dried fruits, and the like.
As with Trunz, the meat department is a major draw. Joe Dea, Giuseppe's meat manager, was at Razzano's for 21 years and also worked for a while at Uncle Giuseppe's Smithtown location. He said, "It's like coming back home. I love it." Dea, who takes great pride in his department, pointed out that all the meats are fresh and can be cut to order if desired. He added that all the sausage is made on the premises. Two interesting offerings that we spotted were chicken meat balls with spinach and provolone, and chicken meatloaf with broccoli rabe. The fish, although more limited in scope than the meat, is also delivered fresh daily.
But, it's not just Italian. There is a sushi chef preparing fresh sushi. Other ethnic offerings spotted were rice pilaf (a redundancy, of course), tahini, burritos, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots. And, as mentioned, "ordinary" supermarket items are also available, including paper goods, juices, cereals, peanut butter, jellies, pet foods, canned goods, dairy, and, of course, good old Entenmann's. Fresh flowers are displayed in the vestibule, as they were at Trunz's.
The produce department is outstanding. There is a good selection of fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables, including a number of organic choices. The bakery is also very good, with all the baked goods prepared on premises.
For a specialty store, the prices are moderate, and Giuseppe's weekly specials make some items a real bargain.
Giuseppe's has a full catering menu with over 120 items available, including appetizers; pasta, meat, chicken and seafood entrées; hot buffets; party heros; and cold cut, vegetable, fruit and cheese platters; and pastries and cookies. The price for a full pasta tray is $55 to $85, meat trays range from $65 to $125; and seafood entrées are $85 to $145 per tray.
Uncle Giuseppe's is run by a family owned business that has two other locations: 2330 Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow and 95 Route 111 in Smithtown. The owners are Thomas Barresi, Philip De Prete, Carl De Prete, and Joe De Prete. Barresi said of Port Washington, "We love the neighborhood. We are creating a family store, and we feel confident about its success." His mother, Mary Barresi, did the ribbon cutting.
The Port Washington store hours are Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday until 6:30 p.m.
With the void left with the closing of Trunz and Razzano's, Uncle Giuseppe's is a welcome addition to the community. We wish them success.