Move over, Arby’s; the Spa City will soon have the meats. Fat Paulie’s Delicatessen, which will sell house-roasted meats and deli sandwiches, is set to open on Friday, November 23, on 92 Congress Street, just steps away from Downtown Saratoga Springs. The new dedicated deli spot—which joins a busy meat market in Saratoga, with favorites such as Roma Foods, Spring Street Deli and Saratoga’s Broadway Deli already laying claim to the territory—will offer an authentic Long Island-style menu, selling hot breakfast items, mammoth deli sandwiches and its own selection of sliced meats.
“It’s a regular deli menu, but we’re trying to elevate what we offer by the use of [our] ingredients and cooking techniques,” says Jason Friedman, the owner of Fat Paulie’s and a veteran of the Saratoga food scene. Some of those twists on old deli staples will include a Roast Pork Special with broccoli rabe, sharp provolone and parmesan; and one of Friedman’s favorites, the Fat Paulie’s Special, a hot roast beef sandwich with lots of mozzarella, which will be made in-house every day, with ladles of au jus gravy on top. “It’s really messy; [it’s] a down and dirty sandwich,” says Friedman. “But it’s so good.”
On the breakfast menu will be some regional specialties, including an egg sandwich with fried Taylor Ham, a breakfast favorite of northern New Jersey—close to where the native Long Islander Friedman grew up—as well as debris, a signature New Orleans sandwich dressing made from the pan drippings of roasted meats. “The [drippings] all get mixed up into this spreadable goodness that we put on a number of our sandwiches here,” says Friedman.
In addition to the house-made meats, mozzarella and sandwich spreads, Fat Paulie’s will also have fresh-baked bread delivered daily from Anthony & Sons Bakery in Denville, NJ. “Its really like an old-school style of cooking and preparing the food—all very fresh,” says Friedman. And, yes, those hoping to take home some of those ingredients are in luck, as Fat Paulie’s will have its own selection of sliced meats for sale as well as cured meats imported from Italy and a small lineup of takeout beers.
The restaurant’s decor, menu offerings and name are all callbacks to Friedman’s Long Island roots. In fact, the name was originally going to be “Roots” until Friedman got some pushback from his friends and a better suggestion from his old pal named, you guessed it, Paulie. “He’s a guy from the Bronx; he’s an avid Jets fan, and he eats a lot of prosciutto,” says Friedman, with a laugh. In a bind over the last-minute name change—Roots apparently sounded “too healthy”—Friedman had asked his Long Island and New York City friends for ideas on the deli’s name. “The first person who replied was Paulie with ‘Fat Paulie’s,'” says Friedman. “It took him like ten seconds to come up with it, and it was perfect!”
Though still proud of his Long Island roots, Friedman has been living in Saratoga since 1993. “I took a job in Gloversville after college, so I moved up to Saratoga [and] commuted,” says Friedman. “I just fell in love with the place and never looked back.” It didn’t take long for the Long Island native to fall in love with the Spa City’s then-burgeoning food scene, taking restaurant positions at Maestros, One Caroline (which is now The Cellar) and working in the cold-pantry making sandwiches at the Gideon Putnam Hotel. In 2002, Friedman made the switch over to owner, when he bought the Mexican Connection on Nelson Avenue, operating it until 2014 when he sold the business to a former employee. “Fat Paulie’s is my first trip back into the food business as an owner,” he says.
The new deli will be open Tuesday through Sunday, 7am to 7pm. Look out for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony in December.