Sassella executive chef and co-owner Cristian Pontiggia wants to recreate the sense of a shopping stroll in his native Italian town of Sondrio that’s just south of the Swiss border, not far from Lake Como.
Pontiggia fondly recalls stopping by small shops for cheese, bread, pasta and meat, all locally made in the Valtellina Valley in Lombardy.
“We can do the same thing in Santa Fe,” Pontiggia said.
Pontiggia and Sassella co-owner Lawrence Becerra have created a deli that will be all things Italian, located a stone’s throw from their Italian restaurant Sassella on Johnson Street.
Their Deli at Sassella is one block over at 216 McKenzie St., directly behind Sassella and tucked into a 1920 home they found in September. The deli opened Thursday, and curbside pickup for deli items from Sassella started in late October, with curbside service also available from the Sassella restaurant menu.
Deli curbside pickup is moving to the deli itself with hours from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
“Cold cuts and cheese and pasta, these are my three main things,” Pontiggia said. “I want you to feel like you are in Italy.”
The amatriciana, marinara, Bolognese and tonnato sauces served at Sassella also will be available for customers, as will breads and prepared panini, lasagna and meatballs.
The deli is largely a take-home version of the restaurant. Many of the principal ingredients used on Sassella menu items are at the deli.
Sassella opened last year with the intention to eventually add a deli.
“It’s one of the reasons I chose to do this job,” Pontiggia said.
“It was something we always had an interest in,” Becerra said. “The thought was accelerated by the pandemic. People wanted to-go options. It came down to finding the right property.”
They took over the property Oct. 13 and awaited permits to outfit the 100-year-old, 1,100-square-foot house.
Pontiggia said he takes special pride in importing the bresaola punta d’anca from his home region, a beef prosciutto marinated in red wine. Other meats include prosciutto, coppa, salumi Toscana and salumi Calabrese, and pancetta.
“Most of the meat is imported from family-owned businesses,” Pontiggia said.
“We are able to source products you are not typically able to see,” Becerra said.
Will there be tastings?
“Yeah, of course,” Pontiggia said.