Friday, February 23, 2007

Montauk Marketplace

New London has as many delicatessens as it has pizza parlors. There are a few less Chinese take-out joints, but the numbers are very close. This is a city that prefers to let professionals prepare meals fit for consumption.

Montauk Marketplace is located just after School Street on Montauk Avenue. I think the address is 453, but it is diagonally across the street from Harbor School, next to the package store. It is a small, family-staffed business, a mom and pop shop, run by a mother and daughter and, recently, an alternating pair of identical twins. The meat wholesaler has breakfast there. The mayor's husband stops in for his morning coffee and a bagel. The bakers stop to trade news with the proprietor when they deliver fresh rolls. Accountants, Mitchell College professors, elementary school students, bus drivers, fire police, neighborhood artists and roofing subcontractors stop by for their morning meals. Amos, the crossing guard places his order when he starts his shift and he picks it up when the last pupil goes through the Harbor School's front door. The most personable and trustworthy car salesman in New London makes a daily stop at Montauk Marketplace.

They make thier own pizza and they make daily soups from scratch. Lunch is good and nutritious at Montauk Marketplace. They use quality ingredients prepared with top shelf culinary skills in a spotless, stainless steel kitchen. Special orders don't upset them. Regulars eat their lunches reading the newspaper while sitting on the stools in the front window while traffic regularly pulls up to park for no more than fifteen minutes. This is good food served efficiently. Always willing to try new things, Montauk Marketplace offers specials and items hard to find elsewhere.

Montauk Marketplace is one of New London's more popular delis and justly so. Its spotless reputation is well earned. Its customers are loyal for a reason. Tourists who stumble on Montauk Marketplace through serendipity are always happy to find a slice of real New London. This delicatessen offers items of New Londonalia, from the products and chapbooks of Whalehead King to sculptures crafted from boards culled from the Ocean Beach Boardwalk. This is a business that supports the community of which it is an intimate part.

There have been delicatessens in this storefront for many years. Montauk Marketplace has been there for four or five years, but it seems like forever. It is a perfect bit of New London society, a cross section sliced thin and tasty, assembled with love and respect.

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