A Throggs Neck resident is bringing European cooking back to the Bronx.
Nabi Israfil, 64, recently opened Euro Products Deli with his wife, Izabella, at 3200 Schley Avenue, just around the corner from the home they moved to 12 years ago from Brooklyn.
Israfil was semi-retired from a career in the antiques business when he became interested in the deli’s location and began developing the idea for the European deli, which had a soft opening in August and hosted its grand opening at the end of September.
Euro Products offers a wide variety of hot foods alongside imported grocery items and cold cuts. Part of the menu features food from Israfil’s Turkish background, and food from his wife’s Polish background—the handmade pierogi are a favorite—with traditional Italian items as a nod to the neighborhood’s history.
The cook, Bobby De Piero, has been instrumental in setting up the business and brought his experience from working at nearby Italian deli Bosco’s.
But Israfil said the European influences go beyond that and include German, Hungarian, and Greek food. The result, he said, is a very unique variety of food you can’t get anywhere else in the neighborhood.
“We’re introducing items you can’t find in a typical deli or a restaurant,” he said.
When the deli opened with the name Euro Products, residents started calling, asking if the deli was carrying their favorite products.
“Our biggest asset is the culinary knowledge of our customers in the neighborhood,” said Israfil.
Israfil is trying to cater to that clientele, which involves a large German group, importing 150 pounds of German wine sauerkraut for the Oktoberfest season.
Another unique aspect to the deli is that it doesn’t have a set menu for hot food yet.
“This is a work in progress,” said Israfil. “Not having a fixed menu has been helpful, drawing people in to see what’s new.”
He posts the daily lunch specials each day before noon at www.europroductsdeli.com.
Another asset to the deli is it’s large kitchen, which allows them to do things like cook a full turkey with rice stuffing.
“It facilitates us to make dishes which would be impossible in a small deli kitchen,” said Israfil, who has goals of expanding the deli’s catering business.
The deli’s neighbors in Throggs Neck have been very welcoming and receptive of the enterprise, said Israfil, and he’s gotten a lot of positive feedback from customers so far.
He’s also said he’s grateful for the support of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association at the beginning of his endeavour, as well as to his son Adam, and fellow boy scouts Seth Champlin and Nigel Green, who worked for Israfil throughout the summer, fixing up the deli.
Israfil said that while the deli is still in the beginning stages, he has a vision of it growing to be known throughout the borough for its home-style European cooking.
“We will be known as the reincarnation of the European tradition of the Bronx,” he said.