For over three decades Tom’s Deli has been the favorite spot
for the weekend morning egg sandwich, the place to grab a bagel on the way to
the soccer field, a convenient stop to grab homemade salads for barbeques and snap
up homemade hot dishes for lunch and dinner.
But come Monday night the coffee pots will be drained for the last time, there’ll be no salads covered in plastic in the displays and no newspapers on the counter top as the Dean family is closing the doors.
“We’ve been here for 32 years. All of our kids grew up with the business and worked here as well as many family members. It’s been amazing,” said Kathi Dean who has worked alongside her husband Tom seven days a week.
As one family member shared with Patch, the deli closing marks the end of an era in Sayville.
“It’s going to leave a huge void both in the town and in the hearts of the family and friends who have made the business what it is,” a niece told Patch.
On the surface, she explained, Tom’s Deli, on North Main and Sayville Boulevard, appeared much like any other small business but it really became much more than a place to get one of Tom’s menu specials.
“It has been a staple in the town of Sayville for three decades as a favorite among multiple generations of families. It taught local kids what true hard work and dedication really looks like,” she said.
“A Dunkin Donuts, Subway, or 7-Eleven will never have the impact that a business like Tom’s did and we can only hope that there remains a place in our too fast-paced, instant gratification, fast food world for the small Mom and Pop businesses that actually mean something to a community.”
She also noted how the couple has been working seven days a week for the last 30 years and did so without complaint or the expectation of recognition.
“If they had it their way they would most like to quietly slip away from the deli without any fanfare,” she said.
But luckily that’s not happening.
All four of the Dean children are coming home this weekend to mark the end of the family’s business and customers and friends have been stopping by all week after hearing the news.
The response to the news has been overwhelming Kathi told Patch.
“It’s just been very heart warming to hear about how much people love our store and the impact our business has had on people in town.”
More than a few dozen Sayville students have worked at the deli during the years and have traditionally always stopped in at different points in their lives to say hi and very often on homecoming weekends, which is taking place this Saturday.
And they'll likely be doing that again but this time it will be to say goodbye.