WESTFIELD—Some 33 years ago, Greg Kasich and his partner and brother Jack were the new kids in town. They are the second owners of Robert Treat Deli, which has been in continual operation for 70 years. Now they’re the ones who know everyone and everything in and about Westfield.
The brothers have multiple generations coming into their store; kids have grown up and gone away, but when they return, the first place they hit is Robert Treat. The deli is a first stop for such residents as Assemblyman John Bramnick, who also shot a commercial there last week. The mayor has held council meetings at the deli, and it’s the after-Mass location for a coffee klatch for the Holy Trinity “God Squad,” a group who attends church every day and stops for coffee following the service. And as was recently written in this publication, it’s the meeting place for Anchor of Hope’s twice-monthly services.
Getting involved with Anchor of Hope was serendipity, Greg says. He was looking for a church when the Rev. Paul Kritsch came through the door of the deli.
“I was raised Catholic; I went to Catholic school. When I first got married in 1978, I married a Lutheran and I went to a Lutheran church in Clifton. We raised our daughter in the church. She joined the youth group and I was heavily involved as well,” he said.
“When I remarried 3 years ago, and moved to Fanwood, the next town over from Westfield, I couldn’t attend church in Clifton, and started looking for one nearby. I was deciding between two churches; it was going to be here or in Cranford. I was hesitating, then Redeemer walked in. They were prayer walking, but also wanted to set up a Bible study. Within a month, I joined the church,” he said.
He believes he was meant to be there, that the hesitation in making a decision was key. “When they walked in and said they were from Redeemer Lutheran, I felt like it was God-sent. Instead of me going to them, they came to me.”
Kritsch was one of the walkers, said Greg. “He asked me if I could have service here and I didn’t have to think about it. He asked if we could have communion, I said sure. A few years ago, I never saw myself doing the things I’m doing now,” he said. He had never considered prayer walking. “It’s one thing to belong and another to be involved.”
He’s delighted with his choice, and feels close to the pastor, though he has known him a relatively short time.
Jack and Greg have found a give and take in their partnership, and though Jack is not involved in Anchor of Hope, he supports it spiritually and financially. The two support each other in just about everything, each taking primary responsibility for a specific area of the store. Jack is primarily in charge of the hot food, and everything is made in the store. Greg is responsible for the bakery items and stays on top of cold foods; he helps Jack as needed. He makes a lot of cakes and cookies. As their menu is extensive, and made from scratch, the two men are always busy.
On any day, customers can pick up a three-course meal for $8.95 a person, which includes an entrée, starch and vegetable. There are multiple choices, one of the favorites being potpie, which runs out early on the days it’s served. Sometimes they have stew, and they always have several kinds of chicken dishes. Friday is fish day. If you have company coming and want something special, call a week in advance and they will prepare it, cater it, set it up and serve it.
At Thanksgiving, the place is really hopping. “Thanksgiving is huge; we do about 75 turkeys, with stuffing, choices of vegetables, pies, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes—whatever you want.”
Cost for the Thanksgiving feast is around $19.95 per person; add a dessert pie for $20. “When people are traveling on Thanksgiving, they pick up the dinner and take it wherever they’re going.”
“They’re wonderful, wonderful people,” said Sherry Cronin, executive director of Downtown Westfield Corporation. “If you need a pot of coffee or a full spread. They deliver and they’re very high quality. They’re well known for their first-line service.”
Cronin works with them on “Girls Night Out,” a special occasion that began in the fall of 2010 to support local retailers, and has been so popular, it was held again in the spring and is on the calendar for Oct. 20. “We had 1100 women in April,” Cronin said, and 96 towns were represented. The retailers provide lots of shopping incentives and Robert Treat provides a buffet dinner. (For more information on “Girls Night Out,” go to www.westfieldtoday.com/Downtown.html and click on the link.)
Good food and a friendly atmosphere along with old world service are scarce commodities in our big store society, but Greg and Jack have stayed successful because of their commitment to quality, value and hospitality. Greg said, “I love dealing with the people, I love making good food, I love presentation, I love good flavor; I like to see people enjoy it.”
Visit Robert Treat Delicatessen on the web at www.roberttreatdeli.com.