SARATOGA SPRINGS — Imagine two young men, 22 and 23 years old, riding their mountain bikes to a meeting that could make or break their dream of creating a local deli and pizzeria, and walking in with their caps still on backwards. That was 20 years ago, and the man who then owned the 132 Spring Street building, George Lega, tossed them out on their ears.
“He wouldn’t even talk to us,” remembered Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria co-owner, Brian Brumley. “Fortunately, our attorney was a good friend of Mr. Lega’s, so he convinced him to give us a second chance. We went back – without hats – and sat with him for four hours. We really hit it off, and he later sold the building to us and held the papers, a pretty big deal for a couple of kids. No one does that. If he were still with us today to see us hit 20 years, I’d say thank you. Thank you for giving us the opportunity. The guy was just incredible.”
Brumley and his childhood friend, deli co-owner Anthony Gargano, turned out to be a good bet. They had grown up in the restaurant business and five houses away from each other in Geyser Crest. After comparing notes, the two friends felt confident they could create a neighborhood eatery that people would enjoy regularly, so they reached out to a chef friend of theirs, Rob Cone, to help set them up at the Spring Street location.
“Rob said we’ll do everything fresh from scratch daily,” said Brumley. “Homemade soups, salsas, dressings, making a better product than just any deli with sliced meats and processed, canned food. We make it all homemade. We’ve added more items to the deli menu, and now, we’re expanding our catering menu. We purchased a wood fired pizza truck a few years ago, and that’s been growing. We’ve done weddings and such, but we’d like to do more events. The business is capable of doing any size party.”
With made from scratch offerings and a philosophy that a happy staff leads to happy customers, it’s no wonder the Spring Street Deli and Pizzeria has much to celebrate on its 20th anniversary.
“We’ve had so much support from family and friends over the years,” said Brumley. “They’ve helped us get where we are, and we can’t thank them enough.”
Gargano agrees and added, “You have to find yourself some great employees and we’ve done that. Our staff is incredible. A lot of them are lifelong friends. They work hard and make it look easy.”
Brumley said, “The best part is, through the years, the kids that worked for us still come back. Some will be home visiting from college and can’t wait to eat Spring Street instead of mom’s cooking. Parents will even buy favorites here and bring them to their kids in Boston or wherever because they miss it.”
Brumley and Gargano both attribute their success to that community support plus hard work, dedication, and providing great food at affordable prices. They feel the business has become more than just a deli; it’s a lifestyle, with loyal clientele that visit daily, a neighborhood place where customers and staff kid around with each other, often about sports. They even kid about the day they first opened.
“It was either the 5th or 7th of December in 1996,” said Brumley. “We both think it’s a different day. We probably could go look it up in the paperwork, but why not just make it an anniversary week? Or month?”
“It’s a playful atmosphere,” Gargano said. “Every day there’s something great that goes on. This past Thanksgiving, I was able to bring my daughter Chloe in to help me make platters, and she said it was one of the best times of her life, working with me.”
Brumley has two children, 6-year-old Nicholas and 5-year-old Sarah. Gargano and his wife, Kelly, have two daughters, 6-year-old Chloe and 3-year-old Cora.
“Chloe’s been saying she wants me to buy Little India next door so she can have a bakery next to her daddy’s deli,” said Gargano. “She can’t wait until she’s older to come work with me.”
For more information, to find out about the giveaways or the daily specials, visit the Spring Street Deli Facebook page or call 518-584-0994. For catering, ask for Meaghan Macfarland, the front of the house and catering manager, or Brumley or Gargano. Also visit www.springstreetdeli.net.