Calise's Food Market, 734 Post Road East in Westport, celebrated its 50th anniversary Thursday and First Selectman William Seiden proclaimed the day "Frank and Dominick Calise Day." Here, Seiden, right, is shown presenting the proclamation to Dominick, left, and Frank, center. - Hour Photo, Bramac Studio
A family owned business since the 1930's.
The Calise Family has been in business in Westport since the 1930’s. The first store, opened by Michael Calise, Senior, was Westport Fish and Poultry, located at 21 Post Road West, near the bridge where the Age of Reason toy store now resides. In the 1950’s, the current store at 734 Post Road East was built, and Michael’s son, Frank Calise, opened Calise’s Food Market with the help of his brother Dominick. In addition to the full line of groceries and produce, Frank was a butcher and well known for his cuts of meat. He had quite the following for his steaks and even local celebrity, Paul Newman, said that the hamburger meat at Calise’s was his favorite!
In the late 1980's Carmine Cenatiempo, married to Frank’s granddaughter Sandra, took over the business and it has slowly evolved into a deli with a food to go, catering services and a small line of groceries that include the staples such as milk,local eggs, butter and bread delivered daily from Terranova in Little Italy. Boars Head cold cuts are available for the sandwiches and they make all their deli salads in house. Calise’s prides itself on the fact that nothing is pre-processed. All of the prepared dishes are made on the premises including their Tomato Sauce, Meatballs, Breaded Chicken Cutlets, and Breaded Eggplant. They make freshly prepared daily specials, including delicious homemade soups made by another family member, Maria Calise Monges. Carmine bottles and sells his own sauce and even makes the fresh mozzarella. There is an extensive catering menu that varies from traditional dishes such as Lasagna, Chicken Francese to incredible Hor d’oeuvres like their best selling hand made Vegetable Spring Rolls. And now, after recently catering an entirely organic party for 90 people, they have added organic catering services. This is nothing new to the Calise’s; for generations, vegetables, chickens, pheasants, quail and eggs were raised right behind the store on the 10 acres of land bought by Michael Calise in the 1930’s. It’s nice to see that people are recognizing the value of home grown vegetables and fruits and living off the local land as the Calise’s did.
Although Italian dishes are their specialty( their penne pasta with sausage & broccoli rabe is amazing), you might be surprised by the variety of the many dishes cooked up daily: among the best sellers are Chicken Quesadillas and pork tenderloin stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and asiago cheese. They also have a dinner to go service, Dinnerizready. This service was started with a suggestion from a dear family friend (thanks Marcie!). As soon as her kids hit middle school, with all its after school activities, she suggested offering a family style dinners at reasonable prices, delivered to the sports fields! Dinner Iz Ready was started, but, more conveniently, they bring your meal to your home between 5-6 pm. In addition to family meals, clients order for new moms, expressions of sympathy, friends who need a hand…or just because!
So, stop in soon, say hello and try Calise's fresh, delicious, home style cooking!