PORTLAND — A neighborhood food landmark is gone, but in its place will be a new project by a rising star in the city’s restaurant galaxy.
Quattrucci’s Variety at 164 Veranda St. was a neighborhood staple for more than three decades. The store closed without fanfare late last year, but the building won’t be empty very long.
Peter Sueltenfuss leased the building on Jan. 1 for the Otherside Delicatessen, which will open around Jan. 26, he said – as long as telephone and Internet connections are done.
The Otherside will be more than just a place to grab a quick bite, he promised.
“The intention is to be a neighborhood spot,” Sueltenfuss said, adding there will be changes from the way the store used to be, but they will be welcoming. “We’re here for a neighborhood that could use a store like this,” he said.
The Otherside will sell house-butchered and -cured meats and charcuterie, as well as market items like fresh fruits and vegetables, locally grown when available. It will also serve prepared, ready-to-go foods like sandwiches, pasta, pizza, and pot pies.
However, Sueltenfuss said where Quattrucci’s was more of a convenience store, he aims to be a “neighborhood market,” with a focus on locally produced products.
“I had been looking to this for years,” Sueltenfuss said. “This was just the right place and right time.”
Sueltenfuss was the executive chef for two years at Grace on Chestnut Street, and spent six months at Rosemont Market & Bakery training to raise his “butchering skills,” he said.
Before Grace, Sueltenfuss was a line cook at Miyake and Fore Street. In 2011, he helped launch the now-closed District, on Danforth Street.
The Boston native also won the 2013 Chopped Challenge, where the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Auburn brought together a handful of Portland-based chefs to battle each other in the kitchen to support the Food Bank’s Cooking Matters program. The challenge was based on the popular Food Network show “Chopped,” but was not televised.
Sueltenfuss admitted The Otherside will be a “definite turn away from the restaurant business,” but he said it represents something he “feels passionate about”: helping people realize “it doesn’t have to be a special occasion” or cost a lot to eat locally produced food.
He said the Otherside has “a great opportunity to be part of the neighborhood,” and he wants to get to know the people who live in East Deering and be able to serve them the food they want.
The building is owned by Gregory Pirone, a lieutenant in the Portland Fire Department. Pirone bought it last April, but wasn’t interested in running the store. He said he bought it when the previous owners retired after 33 years, because he liked the location and the building.
Pirone said he had three or four other people seriously interested in leasing the space, but ultimately decided on Sueltenfuss because he “thought his ideas were good for the area,” and had a “better chance for success.”
“I think it’s long term going to be a better fit than just a standard variety store,” Pirone said.
While the Otherside will sell beer and wine like Quattrucci’s did, it will not sell cigarettes or any tobacco products. Sueltenfuss said while the store “won’t be a full-service” grocery store, it will provide a place for “small staples.”
Adding to the neighborhood connection, Sueltenfuss said he will be joined at the Otherside by two employees who previously worked at Quattrucci’s.
Quattrucci’s Variety was in business for more than 30 years at 164 Veranda St. in Portland. The Otherside Delicatessen is scheduled to replace it at the end of the month.
Peter Sueltenfuss plans to open the Otherside Delicatessen this month on Veranda Street in Portland. Sueltenfuss said the deli will specialize in house-butchered and -cured meats and market staples, but will also sell things like sandwiches, pizza and pasta, much like its predecessor, Quattrucci’s Variety.