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541 Willis Ave Williston Park , NY 516-747-0277

Andrea Ceriello, proprietor of Ceriello's in Williston Park,

Andrea Ceriello, proprietor of Ceriello's in Williston Park, holds a few dried sausages. (Dec. 17, 2010) Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus


Caterers, Butcher, Italian, Supermarkets


Ceriello's in Williston Park is the center of an Italian-food empire with two locations on Long Island (the other in Wantagh), two in the city, and three more in the Northeast. The 7,000-square-foot store is bright and sleekly designed. But it smells unmistakably like a pork store. That's how it started 21 years ago (in one seventh of its present space) and that's what's closest to the heart of its founder, Andrea Ceriello.

Ceriello, who emigrated from Italy in 1970, laments the state of American pork. "In Italy, the pigs are bigger, with more fat and more flavor." But he has developednumerous strategies for dealing with this sad situation. He buys as much fresh Berkshire pork as he can. ("Berkshire" is a breed of pigs that is much closer to the Italian variety.) And, when dealing with conventional pork, he finds ways to enhance the flavor -- for example with a new "porchetta" roast. Each 6-pound roast (at $7.99/ pound) consists of a loin of pork wrapped in a layer of fresh belly and then brined. "Cook it for four hours at 275, and you can feed 15 people."

On the cured-pork front, Ceriello imports a very fine Prosciutto di Parma, Quattro Stagione, that has been aged for at least 18 months. His dried sausages are made, to his own specifications, by Licini Brothers in Union City, N.J., as are his pancetta and cottetchino. (Unusual -- and in my experience, unique -- for a Long Island pork store, he sells no Boar's Head. His boiled ham, baloney and liverwurst are all produced expressly for his stores.)

In 2011, Ceriello has arranged to apprentice himself to a sausage maker in Umbria to deepen his understanding of the art of salumi. "When you own a store like this, it's easy to get stagnant," he said. "I never want that to happen."


Photo: Andrea Ceriello, proprietor of Ceriello's in Williston Park.


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