"My realtor told me, don't go in there without me. Show no emotion!" But Jessica Rivera took no heed, and of course within minutes (just like the rest of us) she was professing her love to Terry and Bob Delmonico and their wonderful vintage corner store and Italian market.
"I told them, 'I've been dreaming my whole life of opening a place just like this!, and they said, 'We've been dreaming of someone just like you to come and buy it.'" And just like that, Delomico's 2.0 was born. Well, at least it will be, sometime this summer.
The octogenarian relic had survived its third familial generation, Bob and Terry Delmonico, who took it over from their dads Louis and George, who took it over from Vincenzo, who was straight from the motherland. While Rivera said she would be careful about classifying their kids as being "uninterested" in taking over the business, the specific workload the endeavor demands just wasn't for them.
"So the whole family is relieved that it's not going to be changed into a completely different kind of business."
Rivera, who originally hails from Miami -- her family sought refuge in the Twin Cities after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 -- very proudly wears as a badge of honor her Puerto Rican heritage. Talk to her for fewer than five minutes and she'll tell you: "I'm Purerto Rican."
So while Delmonico's will maintain its corner-store status, and you'll get your cans of tomatoes and tins of tuna, and yes, yes, the homemade sausages and sauces -- Bob and Terry are sharing the coveted family recipes -- make no mistake: Rivera will be putting her stamp on the place as well.
"I'm Puerto Rican, and I don't know anywhere in the Twin Cities where you can get a good arroz con pollo or a Cuban, so we're going to have that too."
She's been up to her eyeballs in sawdust and paint; she's doing a deep clean and a soft makeover of the place all with her own sweat equity, and she says the Delmonicos are in awe of how big the place is.
"If you remember it before, it was pretty crowded -- there was a designated walking area and that was it because there was nowhere else to go. I think there might have been inventory from the '60s in there."
And she says this with nothing but a big smile and a lot of love -- the Delmonicos have become her surrogate family, and without a lot of symbiosis, the deal would have never gotten done. She promises that Bob and Terry will be right at her side, walking her through the sausage and sauce making process as soon as that time comes.
So there you have it: the Twin Cities' (the country's?) only Italian/Puerto Rican corner store -- I wonder if Rivera will be teaching Bob and Terry any Spanish?
Oh, and? The new name is: Jessi's Market at Delmonico's.
It will open sometime this summer.
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