Basil and Prime, an upscale deli and specialty food store located at 960 Willis Avenue in Albertson, held its Grand Opening event Sunday. The store officially opened to the public July 26.
“Everything’s been running smoothly for two months now,” said Andrew Mesuraca, who co-owns the shop. “We wanted to thank the community and have a proper party.”
The chamber of commerce held a ribbon cutting, which was attended by local community leaders. The event included brick oven pizza, BBQ, cotton candy and vendors offering sampling of their products.
“It was nice to see neighbors, friends and family all come together to support us,” Mesuraca said. “Turnout was great. People were very pleased with the products they tasted.”
Mesuraca previously ran Dix Hills Quality Meats, a butcher shop that served Dix Hills in Suffolk County for almost 25 years.
The store, at just under 4,000 square feet, features “state-of-the-art” and energy efficient equipment and refrigeration, Mesuraca said.
Two of Basil and Prime’s chefs have been trained in culinary school, Mesuraca said. The store also boasts a salad bar, an organic juice bar called Nooks & Kindles and an organic coffee bar featuring Georgio’s Coffee — roasted in Farmingdale.
Cashier Susan D’Ambrosio said she has been an Albertson resident for more than 30 years.
“This is the best thing that’s happened to the neighborhood,” D’Ambrosio said. “It’s something we’ve needed for a while.”
D’Ambrosio said the juice bar is one of the best selling points for the shop because it attracts a different demographic than most specialty meat shops.
“The high school students are loving the açai bowls on their lunch breaks,” D’Ambrosio said.
The store’s grilled octopus and seafood dishes have been very popular, Mesuraca said. But he said his store stands out because of its grass-fed, dry-aged and prime beef from Master Purveyors — and its organic chicken.
“Basil represents homemade, contemporary gourmet dishes and the Prime stands for prime meats,” Mesuraca said. “We have experienced butchers, experienced deli people that take pride in our homemade products. We want to stand out and carry the best of the best.”
Deli Manager Michael Seip said he’s happy to be working at a deli that “does things the old-fashioned way.”
“Everything is homemade. That’s the right way to do things,” Seip said. “Hopefully we’ll keep up the high standards.”
Mesuraca said attention to customer service contribute to his success. He makes sure his employees meet customer needs and customizations, from gluten free to whole wheat.
“We ask questions and suggest things. We often instruct people how to cook things,” Mesuraca said. “It’s not just about ‘give me a pound of ham.’”
Basil and Prime is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.