Posts from — September 2011
September 24, 2011 No Comments
Re-run from sometime in the spring of 2009…
Editor’s Note- Despite my disclaimer which allows me to do anything, I really am a responsible blogger/fake journalist. When I promise an interviewee I’ll let them vet my story before I publish it, then I always do. In one case I even scrapped publishing an entire juicy interview loaded with stunning revelations because my subject changed his or her mind about wanting to go public.
And regarding this long lost Radio Deli story from last April, I have been responsible as well. Sure it took me months to write it up, but when I did I sent to to both principle subjects for review at least twice. I have asked them both about it in person several times when I’ve been in the deli buying chili or other assorted sundries and have been told again and again that they just haven’t gotten around to it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But the last time I was in buying chili, and I asked Michael Neiderer about it again- he basically gave me implicit permission to just go ahead and run it. He said something to the effect of ‘Hey- you tried. You did what you were supposed to do and if we’re not getting back to you- then hey- you gave us a chance-’
He didn’t come right out and say go ahead, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant. And when I went on to say something like- ‘It’s not like there’s anything horribly controversial or damning in there about you- it’s actually just free advertising for your deli-’ he basically agreed and joked right along. ‘It’s not like it’s a hit piece against Radio Deli or anything…’
And it’s not. So what the heck. I’m publishing it.
Radio Deli Interview- April 23, 2008
Pam Scanlon and Michael Neiderer (pictured below L to R) bought Radio Deli from Louis Manno. Lot’s of Manno’s stuff remains adorning the nooks and crannies of the store. Simpsons dolls, celebrity autographs, Coke collectibles and decades worth of other kitsch and Americana.
“Someday he’ll get it…” Scanlon explains, meaning someday Manno will come retrieve his collectibles. She says Manno’s memorabilia helps maintain continuity between owners and that visiting Radio Deli now should be at least “as fun an experience or better …why not?”
Scanlon who live in the fourth floor “penthouse” above Radio Deli says her goal in owning a store “was to never run out of half and half.” For his part Michael says he never wanted to run out of Rolling Rock beer.
Neiderer and Scanlon met while they were both doing computer work for the same employer in 2002 and 2003. He was doing programming from Tennessee. She was doing web development from Brattleboro. She was impressed with his ability to break into a particular script log.
“I could crack your code” Neiderer says to Scanlon with a grin. He then explains that he was living in a trailer, in a pasture, in the woods, in the hills in Tennessee. I was pretty safe and well hidden, but… I fell in love.” He moved up to Vermont to be with Scanlon. They bought Radio Deli in March of 2007.
Pam explains that the Deli’s home in the old brick building at the corner of Pearl and Pine, which is also home to Leonardo’s Pizza, has a rich history. Radio Deli’s location had been briefly boarded up before Louis Manno took it over in 2007. Before that there was a Vietnamese market. And before that, the location was home to the Merola brothers M & M market for about 30 years. Before that it was a store called “Izzo’s.” In fact, Scanlon says, there has been a grocery store in one form or another at Radio Deli’s location since at least 1894.
Scanlon says one of the things she’s done since she and Neiderer took over was to add some healthy snacks to the menus. “It’s so great to see kids come buy an apple or an orange,” she says “and we have cherries for 8 cents each!”
“Let me mention one thing,” Michael adds. “Our recipes and portions are consistent, and our soups are unbelievable! We make our own stock. It’s good.”
Beside himself and Scanlon, Neiderer says Radio Deli employs three other people who each work between 8 and 35 hours per week. “They’re all smart, energetic, hard working and have personalities,” he explains. “The only way you survive in this business is if you like people.”
In the midst of all the fun, Pam says she’s trying to make room for all of her Ron Popeil kitchen products. “I’ll have to bring in my Bass-o-Matic” She quips.
On a more serious note, Scanlon and Neiderer say they are concerned at potential plans to move a bus depot into spot down the street where the Vermont Department of Labor is now. “This is a neighborhood, not a bus depot.” says Scanlon “and the Department of Labor doesn’t want to sell the building.” Scanlon has a blog on the topic at:
http://pearlstreetneighbors.blogspot.com/. She says the city can sometimes be quirky in the way it operates. “They made me pay my late fees at the Fletcher Free library before they would give me a liquor license” she says with a chuckle. But the bus depot proposal has been a little more mysterious. “It’s so weird, “she says “It’s one of those odd city things where I know stuff is going on…”
As I prepared to leave, Neiderer introduced me to a frequent customer and former employee (named Bernie or Bennie or something. I can’t remember). “He still gets the employee discount” Michael quipped. When I asked the gentleman for a few words about Radio Deli, he delivered a glowing review with heart.
“It’s definitely a great place for everybody to come and get good food at a decent price- without having to deal with City Market. It’s a great place for family and a great place to be social.”
September 19, 2011 No Comments
Fish comes to Burlington.
September 12, 2011 1 Comment