By day, Carmine’s Italian Deli & Cafe in Elmsford does what you’d expect. A lively deli with a meat counter in the back, a cash register in front, and seating in the center. Smoothies, salads and other Italian dishes. But on weekend nights it transforms into a music venue with its own stage, colorful lights and drums (not far from the refrigerated drinks section).
Called Music @ THE DELI, the program launched last summer as part of Carmine’s “testing the waters” phase. According to Joe Palombo, the deli owner who now helps create the program with Robert Venuti, they have a firm grasp on what they’re trying to create.
The duo don’t just want to provide a fun night out, and that’s a big part of it, they want to build a music hub for the community that sustains, educates and promotes musical creativity, heritage and passion. .
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With a 13-year career in music education and nearly 30 years in sales and marketing, White Plains resident Palombo says the focus is on the artistry of music. “We want Deli to be a place for people who are passionate about music and really enjoy what we try to create. ‘This is about relationships.'”
So, in addition to attracting established bands (our area has a lot of talented people), Palombo and Venuti want to promote up-and-coming performers. To that end, they forged partnerships with the Hudson Valley Blues Society and the Westchester Bluegrass Society to provide opportunities for teenage musicians, particularly the White Plains High School Songwriters Club, the White Plains School of Rock, and Elmsford’s Lagon Music. bottom.
The two also have plans to start a foundation to help at-risk youth.
“I have been in the music business for a long time, and I have a network of renowned musicians who bring their years of experience to Deli to educate people,” said Palombo, Deli’s marketing music director.
the beginning of everything
So how did eating a turkey sandwich in front of a drum set become part of MO at the deli? The answer is simple, according to Venuti. “I play music and sing,” he said.
A longtime saxophone and harmonica musician, he was jamming with friends after the deli closed at 4pm. “We didn’t have a stage. We just had a sofa and we hung out and played,” he said. “And you know how that happens. You make good soup, people taste the soup, and they soon find out you’re making five gallons instead of quarts, and little by little more musicians start coming.” I did.”
I had heard that Palombo had great music playing in the deli.
“My friends have been wanting me to come over for months, but I kept thinking, ‘This is a deli. I really don’t have time,'” Palombo said. I thought we were just hanging out, but then one night I came to an open mic night and I was like, wow, this is cool, this isn’t, and we started talking.”
He also helped Venuti secure the proper licenses to operate as a legal music venue.
how’s the food?
This is a deli, Venuti is a longtime cook, and food is naturally part of the equation.
Venuti learned to cook from his Italian grandmother who lived with the family, first mastering meatballs before moving on to other dishes such as chicken scarpariello, pasta e fagioli and baked ziti. His line-up now includes a full repertoire including slow-cooked brisket, salmon and roast pork. He also makes a variety of vegan dishes, including vegan meatballs with his homemade marinara.
Dozens of specialty sandwiches, wraps and paninis including Italian Combo (salami, hot capicola, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, oil, vinegar), New Yorker (hot pastrami, melty swiss dressing, coleslaw, Russian dressing), plus more .
It’s important to feed musicians and keep them happy. The two men say they’d be surprised how many places don’t show respect for musicians.
Venuti also serves entrées such as eggplant rollatini, penne alla vodka, salmon, cheeseburgers, vegan quinoa bowls, turkey crab wraps, calamari, salads, and sandwiches for dinner.
The deli can accommodate approximately 65 people. During the day he has a mix of 2 and 4 tables, but at night the tables are closer together, high tops, long tables, low lighting 2 and he 4 is set. Candles, possibly a tablecloth. “It’s all about connecting people,” Palombo said.
what to expect
Accepting the deli is the key to the whole setup. As you sit at the show, you can see refrigerated drinks and deli cases behind dark blue curtains.
The shows typically have themes ranging from acoustic rock to Cars homages to rocking women. With 22 acts booked so far through April, the 2023 series kicked off on January 21 with a “Southern Rock Jam” featuring Head First and Filo Fox. Other upcoming shows (next time her on Jan. 28) will include Santana songs and more, and will perform with StoneFlower.
The two men say Music @ THE DELI is a passion project and they want to make a little profit, but it’s not about the money. Instead, they just want to feed (and nurture) musicians, celebrate and preserve music, and educate those who care.
Also part of their mission: offer Sunday afternoon workshops taught by established musicians highlighting how to navigate their business. Bassist for legendary rap label Sugarhill Records, supporting Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, as well as pioneering Living Color.
Other musicians slated for the series (no exact dates yet) include David Ellefson, bassist for thrash metal band Megadeth, guitarist Gary Hoey (who has 21 albums to his name), And that includes lead guitarist and one of the band’s songwriters, Alex Skolnick. Thrash metal band Testament.
The Rocks the Schools initiative (based on a program run by the White Plains Songwriters Club at White Plains High School) that teaches children how to write and perform their own music is also underway. The foundation raised funds through corporate donations and acquired gear through relationships with music makers.
if you go
address: 7 Old Road, Elmsford, 914-345-2605, carminescation.com
time: The deli is open daily from 7am to 4pm.
music: Friday and Saturday nights only. Tickets are $10 prepaid. $15 at the door. This includes a free drink of beer or wine and discounts (and catering too) to future shows. Featuring two bands, the night usually begins with music at 7:30 PM and the show finishes by 11:00 PM. More info on eventbrite or deli website.
Jeanne Muchnick is in charge of food and dining. Click here for her latest articles and follow her latest dining adventures on Instagram @lohud_food or the lohudfood newsletter.