Emil & Doris Colombo began Colombo’s Italian Delicatessen in 1986 with the purchase of Francesca s Deli in Pacific Manor Village Shopping Center. The location had been an Italian Deli dating back to 1967 when Rose Blanda had established Roma Deli. Emil and Doris now in there forties were avid cooks at home and thoroughly enjoyed cooking for family and friends on the weekends.
Emil (Sr.) had wanted his own business for years and sought a suitable location for 6 years before he and his wife Doris purchased Francesca’s. Emil Sr. enjoyed working in the kitchen and was a perfectionist about taste and preparation. He grew up in his family home cooking with his French (from the Pyrenees) & Italian (from Abruzzia) grandfathers. His mother Mae Colombo was admired by family and friends for her cuisine particularly her gnocchi, lasagna, ravioli, chicken, pork roast and homemade sauces which are now carried on to the family deli’s. In fact it was Mae that first started our family in the food business.
In the late fifties & sixties, Mae owned a catering business she ran with the help of all the family her husband Frank Colombo, her children Emil (Emil Sr), Barbara, & Madeline, her brothers Joseph & Robert Saraceni, her sister-in-law Helen, her sister Mary, her daughter-in-law to be Doris (& Doris sister Norina Costa. In fact, the pictures that adorn the walls of the deli are from those very same receptions. Mae was involved in the start-ups of two of her children’s business ventures: her daughter Barbara & son-in-law Dan Gallinetti in 1969: Woodside Deli & then in 1986 with Colombo’s Delicatessen.
In March 1986, Emil & Doris purchased Francesca’s Deli with thought to build an authentic Italian Delicatessen in the town they have resided (since moving from SF) since 1964. Together with their children Emil, Shirley (Martin), and Brian Colombo they began operating as a full Italian deli, expanding to full service catering hand made raviolis, lasagnas, using traditional recipes from both Colombo and Costa families. That had the community coming back for more.
In 1992 as the family was growing so was the deli. An expansion and remodel was completed and the deli reopened to serve the public with home madebread, pasta, ravioli, lasagnas and fresh meats and salads. Full service catering was still popular with many families in the community. In 1994 and 2000, Monica (Brian’s wife) and Kathy (Emil’s wife) joined the Deli and added their own personal insperation to the operation.
Today, Colombo’s is continuing the family tradition with family still running the operation on a daily basis. On any given day, you can see one of the family members behind the counter. Over the years, Emil Sr. has shown his children, Emil Jr. and Brian and now his grandchildren, Nick, Joe (Brian) and Tori (Shirley) the secrets to his baking and cooking.
Colombo’s Deli is always looking for new ways to please the customer and quality is always first. Always remember that if we wouldn’t serve it on our family table, we wouldn’t put it on yours.