It is a busy day at Fiore’s House of Quality. The smell of cheese and salami and olives permeates the room, causing my stomach to growl. To my right are shelves lined with jars of pickles, balsamic vinegar and olive oil, some as small as a can of soda and some as large as a gallon of milk. To my left, behind the counter, is a wall of jars filled with pepperoncinis, roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes, artichokes and mushrooms, and in between the jars are marinara and clam sauces, and a variety of pastas. And then there are the meats and cheeses, displayed behind the glass counter ready for me to pick out.
The owner, John Amato Sr., stands behind the counter, amid the sporessata and salami, and the provolone and blue cheese, slicing hunks of mozzarella cheese for all the customers to sample. He hands me a piece, and I pop it into my mouth. It is salty and feels silky on my tongue. I order the special of the day: Fiore’s roast beef and mozzarella sandwich, with gravy. It costs $13, but Amato slices the meat and bread in front of me, and my mouth waters watching him assemble my sandwich. I am in an Italian foodie’s dream.
Located at 414 Adams Street, Fiore’s has been a staple of Hoboken, New Jersey since 1913. Amato bought the deli in 1965 and now runs it with his son, John Amato, Jr. The two make 160 pounds of mozzarella each day, but they always find the time to stop and joke with their customers, usually while slipping them a piece of cheese to taste.
Even if you’re not in Hoboken, you can get a taste of Fiore’s. The deli has an online shop, at fioresdeli.com, which sells Italian cookies, pasta, Balsamic vinegar, and a variety of sauces. There are also assorted Italian specialties, including roasted artichokes, Lupini beans, roasted peppers in garlic and olive oil, and Nutella. And then of course they sell the main ingredients: cheeses ranging from Mozzarella to Provolone to Ricotta, and Italian meats such as roast beef, pepperoni, and prosciutto-basically everything you could possibly need for a sandwich. Everything is always shipped fresh and delivered to your door, to ensure you get the best quality food possible.
As Amato Sr., said to me, “if you’re looking for a sandwich, you’ve come to the right place.”