Saratoga Springs deli grows by pivoting in pivotal first year

Mark Mulholland
Updated: November 20, 2020 06:55 PM
Created: November 20, 2020 04:37 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - A deli with house cooked meats, sliced to order for each sandwich, house made fresh mozzarella, and piping hot soups was the dream of Jason Friedman since he moved here from Long Island 27 years ago

"Just trying to get the feel of the delis that I grew up going to. It's like an institution on Long Island."

Friedman hopes Fat Paulie's will become an institution here.

Judging from the early Friday lunch crowd at the Congress Street business, it's on its way.

Friedman and his business partner, Jo-Ann Lant, say they've grown the business, even during a global pandemic, by being nimble ---offering free delivery, curbside pick-up, and even selling toilet paper and paper towels as demand grew for those items.

"It's interesting to think of how far we've come since opening to now. Something we're all very proud of as a team," said Lant, who points out that they're ready to quickly shift back to curbside pick-up and contactless delivery if it becomes necessary again.

The name Fat Paulie's conjures up images of a real New York City deli. The name they very nearly settled on, not so much.

Friedman's first choice was Roots Deli.

When his graphic designer told him it sounded too much like a health food store, Friedman texted his buddies from downstate.

"I had been working on this name for a year with hundreds of names written out, finally settled on Roots, got the pushback, I go out to these guys, I send them a text, a group text, and say 'I have to change the name, what do you guys think?' and Paulie is the first that gets back to me and in two seconds the name was changed to Fat Paulie's, just like that," laughs Friedman.

He says Paulie is not overweight, but might be if he lived near the deli named after him.

Lant says they've also grown their catering business.

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