For 13 months, loyal customers of Milano’s Deli in Orient Heights Square anxiously awaited the reopening of their beloved sub shop and deli.
In late June of last year, a fire ripped through the kitchen area at Milano’s, suffered a fire causing extensive damage to the interior.
At the time, Vinny Caraglia, who has owned Milano’s with his family for the past 15 years vowed that the go-to sub shop and Italian specialty store for the hungry Eastie crowd would reopen.
Last Tuesday, in perhaps one of the most highly anticipated reopenings the neighborhood has seen, Milano’s once again opened its doors to the public.
Once the doors of Milano’s were open throngs of people lined up to get their fix of subs, rice balls, pizza and Italian dishes they waited over a year to once again devour.
And the reopening exceeded Caraglia’s and his family’s expectations and was nothing short of spectacular.
By 11:30 a.m. Milano’s ran out of rice balls after Caraglia and his staff cooked nearly 100 of the Italian treat of lightly fried, stuffed Arborio rice.
By 12:30 p.m., Milano’s sold over 250 subs and ran out of bread and had to order more sub rolls.
By 2:30 p.m.the sub shop ran out of bread for a second time–followed by basically all the other food they had prepared for the reopening and had to close early.
“The reopening really exceeded our expectations,” said Caraglia. “You see messages on social media about how people can’t wait for us to come back, but you never really know who is going to show up. After being gone for 13 months we feared we had been forgotten about but last Tuesday proved that this community does not lie and loves to support local businesses.”
Caraglia said he was emotional over the outpouring of love and support that has occured over the past week since Milano’s reopened.
“Everyone that came through the doors to support us are the people we rebuilt for,” said Caraglia. “Without our customers we wouldn’t be here and we would have never got through this. It’s been a really overwhelming week for me and my family. Our sole intention when we took over Milano’s 15 years ago was to keep a local business in the neighborhood and produce quality food that keeps people coming back. Over this past week it has been great to see all our customers that we haven’t seen in over a year come back.”
However, Caraglia admits he had some butterflies leading up to the reopening.
“I have slowly convinced myself that we have become a staple in the neighborhood,” he said. “I have never been nervous coming into work, but I had butterflies last week. I think there was a lot of buzz and expectations surrounding the reopening, and I just wanted to be able to deliver the same exact product, if not better, when we opened the doors.”
Caraglia gave a special shout out to the contractor, Lighthouse Construction, for helping get Milano’s back and running in the community.
“If it weren’t for lighthouse construction we still wouldn’t be open,” said Caraglia. “Steve and his company came in and saw the importance of getting us back open. He recognized that we were important to the community and made us a priority in his schedule so that we could be here today.”
Milano’s will be opened daily, and Caraglia said he and his staff will be working off a limited menu until all the kinks are worked out. But fear not, the limited menu is still large enough to satisfy that Milano’s fix you’ve been waiting all this time for.