A Hudson Valley institution is closing its doors after three decades, and customers are heartbroken.

Giovanni Papandrea was born and raised as one of ten children in southern Italy. He gained a love and appreciation for food growing up on his family's farm. Picking olives, raising animals and even making wine by squashing grapes with his feet, Giovanni has Italian food coursing through his veins.

After arriving in American in 1967, Papandrea lived in Brooklyn where he watched his father make ricotta over an open fire and his mother carefully tending to her homemade tomato sauce. The Italian immigrant opened his first shop in Brooklyn at the age of 17. Papandrea continued to fine-tune his culinary skills until eventually relocating to Middletown, NY in 1988, opening his Famous Deli-Licious Italian Pork Store that would serve Hudson Valley residents for over three decades.


Papandrea announced on Thursday that he would be closing the Famous Deli-Licious Italian Pork Store on Dolson Avenue in Middletown. The Italian food icon has decided to retire, putting an end to his 50-year career and a lifetime of delicious memories for generations of Hudson Valley families.

Customers were heartbroken to learn the news on the business' Facebook page. Not only did they talk about Papandrea's incredible food, but the way he served the community. Incredible customer service, lovingly provided by a family-run business is harder and harder to come by. Those who walked into Deli-Licious say they felt more like family than customers.

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Famous Deli-Licious Italian Pork Store will leave the Playtogs Plaza on December 20. Until then, a limited menu will be available. Sadly, many of the Christmas specialty items that Deli-Licious usually offers will not be available this year, since the store will close before the holiday.

Before you become too heartbroken, there is a ray of light for those who can't imagine living without Giovanni's balsamic vinegar and imported olive oil from Calabri, Italy. A new website is in the works that will allow you to order these Italian staples online after the store shuts down. Be sure to check the Famous Deli-Licious Facebook page for updates.