Photo by team writer John Lynch.

For 49 years, Benanti’s Italian Delicatessen has been serving the people of Bayonne authentic Italian cuisine.

The small Italian Deli, located on 16 West 22nd Street in Bayonne, sells a wide variety of imported foods from Italy. This includes pastas, cheeses, meats, olives and much more.

(John Lynch / SOC Images)

The owner and operator of the shop is Ciro Benanti, but to all his customers, he is simply known as “Charlie.” After immigrating from Sicily to the United States, Benanti worked until he could create his own business, which finally became a reality ten years after arriving in the country.

“I arrived in the United States 59 years ago,” Benanti told Slice of Culture. “I worked for a company which made cardboard boxes for 9 years until I was able to open up my store.”

Along with the imported products, much of what is sold is homemade. Benanti’s also sells freshly made meatballs, sausages and sauces.

The store is also quite popular for their Italian sandwiches.

“Today, our most popular items are our sandwiches and our sauce,” said Benanti. “Besides everything we make fresh, 90 percent of all of our products are imported from Italy. Although we do have some American products as well.”

(John Lynch / SOC Images)

Persistence is key when running a store for this long, according to Benanti. Although he made it clear that it can have its ups and downs, owning a small business is also very gratifying.

“Sometimes you have good days, and sometimes you have bad days, but you cannot give up,” he told Slice of Culture. “I have my wife, my daughter and two grandchildren, and I thank God that everything is good.”

At 81 years old, he shows no signs of stopping, and can still be seen working seven days a week enjoying his job and talking to his loyal customers.

(John Lynch / SOC Images)

“Most of the customers stay here, and I have seen generations change throughout my time,” said Benanti. “Even people who have moved away come from out of town so they can shop here. When they are back in Bayonne, they say they have to stop by.”

Of the many things he enjoys about his work is the people.

“I love people, and naturally, people love me too.”

3 thoughts on “Benanti’s Delicatessen: The 49-Year-Old Bayonne Deli Serving Authentic Italian Flavor

  1. When I worked in Bayonne, I ate there almost every other day Charlie and I have a greeting of chow and I say Francesca and day and he says CC it’s our little thing and I can’t wait to get back there soon to enjoy some sandwiches and salad I miss that man. I miss the guys and miss the whole crew, it’s a part of history and hold a special place in my heart. Thank you guys for everything.

  2. Love their sandwiches!! I had no idea he came from Italy! I think it’s really nice to learn about the business owners in the area! I hope he passes the store down and it stays in the family. Would be really awesome to have Benantis around for the next generation to enjoy!

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