Family values and connections are very important to Tracey Arakelian, Greg Slocum, and Ira Mendelson, partners in Positano Imports and Catering, an Italian delicatessen and specialty food shop in Latham. The store opened in September 2010 and has had a strong presence in the area since then.
Tracey and Greg are siblings who grew up spending a lot of time in the kitchen, and were always surrounded by food. With an Italian father and Irish mother, good food was plentiful and always being prepared. Both Tracey and Greg have great childhood memories and a strong commitment to family, which they bring to their customers every day.
“We always loved to cook when we were kids, and were always watching the food channels. It was just in us. Even my own children (ages 9 and 7) help out in the kitchen now, I love it. We try to cook dinner every night, even though I’m cooking here all day, it’s a really important time of day for us,” said Arakelian.
As far as having that family connection in the store, she said, “We take everybody’s name when they come in to place their order … they really seem to appreciate that.” The staff, which includes two certified chefs and a baker, wants to get to know their customers on a first name basis. With many who return on a regular basis, it’s not hard to do.
The delicatessen is especially known for specialty meats, namely the soppressata (an Italian pepperoni of sorts). This flavorful meat is used on their Italian mixed sandwich and adds a nice burst of pleasing tanginess among the mix of other elements, which include provolone cheese, assorted meats, lettuce, onions and peppers. Imported prosciutto, fresh mozzarella along with specialty pastas and sauces add to the authentic Italian goods available.