SCHENECTADY — La Gioia Italian Deli, a beloved city fixture that closed its doors after 33 years in June, is now set to reopen later this year.
Laura Marino — daughter and niece of the duo that opened La Gioia’s in January 1989 — is in the process of remodeling the deli at 2003 Van Vranken Ave. and hopes to reopen the family establishment with all its original offerings, and a few new fixings, by the end of October.
“We all worked very hard there,” Marino said Sunday. “And I just couldn’t let it go.”
La Gioia’s was a beloved place in the Goose Hill neighborhood, known for its welcoming atmosphere along with its homemade subs and other Italian offerings, until Marino’s mother, Modesta Morson, and aunt, Anna DiCocco, decided to close the business on June 25 in order to rest and focus on their health.
Plans were in place to sell the business but, when the sale fell through and time passed, Marino said she couldn’t bear the thought of walking away from the family business, which opened when she was 11, without first trying to run it on her own.
Now at the helm, she admitted she briefly considered taking a job in sales or putting her nursing degree to use after the deli closed, but she has always loved working at La Gioia — her “second home” — and wanted to continue her family legacy.
“I just had some time to reflect on things and just kind of soak it all in, to be honest,” Marino said. “And throughout that whole time, I have this fire in me that just — that’s my life. It’s in my blood. It was our family business.”
Last month, the 44-year-old announced plans to reopen the deli on Facebook and was met with overwhelming support. More than 400 people left excited comments and over 300 shared the post.
“What fabulous news. You have been missed so much. Cannot wait until you reopen!” one comment read.
“My heart & table will be full again,” read another.
“The goosebumps, I just can’t control them because of the love and just the goodness I feel with all the positive comments and people continuing to reach out to me,” Marino said of the support.
The deli, she said, will feature all the La Gioia classics, including homemade sauce, meatballs and pasta, but will include more imported goods and prepared meals.
The business will also maintain its family roots, said the new generation of ownership.
Both Morson and DiCocco will be helping out in the kitchen, working at their leisure, to ensure the deli has its same standards, and Morson said Marino’s daughter, currently in college, will be pitching in whenever help is needed.
“That’s probably the biggest complement,” Marino said, “knowing that I have them by my side.”
Work is also underway to revamp the building’s interior, including upgrading freezers, installing new counters and giving everything a fresh coat of paint. Marino said the goal is to reopen the doors sometime next month, but noted it all depends on when items arrive.
The goal, she said, is to stay true to the La Gioia legacy while bringing her own spin, or “Laura sass,” to the establishment.
“I want them to say, ‘Hey Laura, nice job. Now, go get me meatballs,’” Marino said.
To stay up to date on the reopening of La Gioia Italian Deli, follow the establishment on Facebook.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.