Cheese lovers on the North Fork, rejoice! While Kate’s Cheese Co. in Greenport may have closed its doors, a new cheese and charcuterie shop is set to take its place this spring.
Salumeria Sarto, the name of the new Front Street spot, will honor former owner Kate McDowell by continuing to provide artisanal meats, cheeses and specialty sandwiches while adding its own authentic, old-school Italian flair.
The shop will be run by chef Frank DeCarlo and his wife, Dulcinea Benson, who both have decades of experience in the restaurant industry.
The couple is best known for founding Peasant, a restaurant on the Lower East Side that has been celebrated for its rustic Italian cuisine and wood-fired cooking techniques. According to Eater, the restaurant has hosted a series of high-profile guests over the years — it’s where former White House chef Sam Kass held his wedding rehearsal dinner and renowned French chefs like Eric Ripert and Jean-Georges Vongerichten often dine.
In 2020, the couple sold their Manhattan restaurant to focus on Barba Bianca, a nautical-inspired establishment in Greenport that they launched in 2017. However, the pandemic proved challenging for the restaurant, which closed in 2021. Since then, the couple has been searching for their next culinary adventure.
“We needed a new space, something small that we can do like a mom and pop,” explained Benson. “This is a new adventure for us too, because we’ve never done the retail side.”
The couple has big plans for the small shop, which was recently renovated to look like an old general store. When visitors enter, they’ll be greeted by reclaimed pine bookcases stacked with vintage cookbooks as well as a collection of antique cheese cloches and an old brass Rancilio espresso machine that dates to the ’50s.
The shop’s name, Salumeria Sarto, is inspired by the Levin family, the original owners of the space. Sarto, which means “tailor” in Italian, is an homage to the Levin’s tailor shop, which was founded in 1920.
Chef DeCarlo will bring his own expertise to the shop, offering culinary advice to visitors as they navigate the shop’s wide selection of Italian meats and cheeses.
“We’re going to highlight products that you can’t go to the IGA to find,” said DeCarlo. “A lot of specialty meats and cheeses that you’ll never see out here.”
“Most people don’t even know that Italy has the largest cheese selection in the world,” added Benson. “There’s over 2,500 different varieties of cheeses.”
Salumeria Sarto will also serve as a space for DeCarlo to host wine dinners twice a week.
“The retail is actually going to be enabling us to have a tiny little Osteria on Friday and Saturday nights where Frankie can cook whatever he wants,” explained Benson. “This is all because he has to cook — he’s an amazing chef.”
With only 16 seats, these exclusive dinners will be an intimate way to experience DeCarlo’s cooking as he prepares traditional Italian recipes that he’s acquired throughout his culinary career. Each dinner will likely be themed to a specific region of Italy and will include fresh, local ingredients.
Throughout the week, the couple also plans on collaborating with nearby farms to bring fresh produce and other local products to the shop. “When people walk in, we want to have an old farm table with big baskets of local produce that they can pick up,” explained Benson. “People are often only out on the North Fork for the weekends, and even though it’s amazing to go to all the markets and the farms, it takes a long time. We want to make it a little easier for everyone.”
Though an official opening date has yet to be announced, Benson and DeCarlo hope that Salumeria Sarto will open sometime in May.
“I’m going to be eating cheese every day,” joked Benson. “It’s going to be great.”
Salumeria Sarto is located at 19 Front St. in Greenport. For updates, visit salumeriasarto.com.