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North Salem Daily Voice serves North Salem, NY

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Kingsley's Deli - New Owner, New Vibes

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Joe Leo saw no reason to change the name of the new business he bought last November. "It's been called Kinglsey's for 40 years," he said. "Why should I change it? It's a landmark."

Kingsley's Deli, named after its original owner, has indeed been serving the community for more than 40 years. It attracts local residents, office workers from the nearby business community, kids from the high school, people going to the Brewster Sports complex, horsemen, hunters, teachers, landscapers, fishermen and all sorts of tradespeople working locally. The contractor who ended up doing many of the recent renovations had come in as a casual customer and left his business card behind.

Joe Leo was in the restaurant business in Montauk, Long Island for twenty years. When his parents moved to Northern Westchester, Leo came to help them and discovered he loved it. "I fell in love with the community. The people are excellent,"he said." I've yet to meet someone I didn't like. You get the feeling it's a 'united' community."

It took him a year and a half to find the appropriate business investment, but when he found Kingsley's he felt it was "the right place to be successful. It was a tremendous opportunity, partly because there's not a lot of competition."

Leo has noticed that the characteristics of his customers change as the day goes on. The deli opens at 5 a.m. The early morning crowd comprises fishermen, hunters, horse hands. Later you have office workers and tradesmen. Mid-afternoon it's the high school students and teachers. Later it's people buying things for dinner. The horse people may be back.

The North Salem Republican Club holds its meetings there in the evening. And finally, at 9 p.m. it's time to call it a day.

All of the salads and prepared foods and even the muffins at Kingsley's are homemade. "The guy who makes the salads, Peter Mendola, has been in the business for 35 years," Leo said. "He takes great pride in his salads."

Leo has altered the recipe for pizza. He describes it as, a "thin crust brick oven, with the best ingredients you can buy." In a couple of weeks, he plans to start a delivery service. He also hopes to feature different specials each night. There are tables for dining in and beer and wine are served.

Other conveniences include an ATM, major credit cards, lottery tickets, cigarettes, and a impressive catering service. What's more -- it is a WiFi Hot Spot!

"I love horses," Leo added, between customers. "I'm in the right place."

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