With a love of food and a knack for crunching numbers, Chris Benanti and Alanna Burton have started a new chapter for a century-old market.
The history of Main Street Market in Windham dates back to 1905 when it was a grocery store named Hitchcock & Patterson. The original store burned down and was rebuilt as Blue Moon Café. In 1979, it was transformed into an Italian deli & grocery, Todaro’s Salumeria, by Mario Todaro, who also owned a deli on the corner 3rd and 29th in New York City.
After falling in love with an 1850s farmhouse in Ashland, Chris and Alanna decided to purchase a second home in Greene County 10 years ago and eventually became full-time residents. When Chris learned that the owner of the market was looking to sell, he pitched the idea to Alanna.
“Chris came home one night and said to me, ‘could we buy an Italian deli?’” Alanna recalled. With Chris’s experience in the restaurant industry, and Alanna’s background as an accountant, it wasn’t such a far-fetched idea, and the two purchased the market in March 2022.
Since then, Chris has been building up an impressive inventory of high-quality meats including Bell & Evans chickens, heritage pork chops from Pennsylvania, sausages from New York City and more. Unlike a traditional grocery store, Main Street Market specializes in imported Italian deli meats, cheese, and grocery items.
“If someone needs something specific, I do my best to bring it in for them,” Chris said.
The market does the dry aging of the meats in house, and also makes a variety of homemade dishes including meatballs, chicken parmesan, lasagna, stuffed peppers, and salads including pasta, potato and coleslaw. Main Street Market also carries seasonal produce from local farms such as Story’s Farm, Fromer Market Gardens and RSK Farm, as well as Maple Syrup from Cook Family Maple Farm.
One of the market’s claims to fame is having authentic Italian subs stuffed with a half-pound of meat.
“It’s the best Italian sandwich you can get on the mountain top,” Chris said. “We slice everything to order.”
In addition to offering high-quality products, Chris and Alanna see the business as a way to be more involved in the Windham community. Main Street Market sponsors the Windham Little League team along with other community events and is an active member of both the Greene County and Windham Chambers of Commerce.
In the future, Chris and Alanna hope to continue to expand the store’s offerings such as making their own pasta and offering Sunday dinner specials or making their own sausage in-house. They’d also like to expand the catering side of the business.
“We’re trying to become more of a destination,” Chris said. “There’s not a lot of Italian markets around and we’re trying to give a taste of the city up on the mountain top. A lot of people that come up from the city are like, ‘oh my God, I’d never expect to see this in the middle of the mountains.’”
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Topics: Success Stories