College Dining on a Dime: Russo’s Rocks New Paltz Sandwich World

Photo by Sage Higgins.

“This chicken cutlet is a magical chicken cutlet.”

That is a direct quote from myself after eating a sandwich at Russo’s Italian Deli. Russo’s is definitely a crowd favorite here in New Paltz, with students especially buzzing about the eatery.

“Russo’s offers delicious sandwiches with their unique and tasty combos of Italian meats, dressings and breads,” Victoria O’Connor, a third-year at SUNY New Paltz, said.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Marina Russo, the manager/creator of the deli. The deli came into place four years ago and has been thriving ever since. The restaurant came to be from the Russo’s family love of food.

“My dad owned a construction company and my mom worked in finance and no one wanted to do what they were doing anymore,” Russo said. “My family is of Italian descent so we decided let’s just open up a deli!”

And the New Paltz community is thankful for this series of events.

The menu is a collection of some of  Marina’s favorite dishes. And their most popular sandwich is based on a real person.

“Our most popular sandwich is the ‘My Cousin Luca.’ It’s named after my actual cousin Luca. It’s my favorite sandwich,” Russo said.

As for local products, Russo’s uses “local produce in the summer, and local beverage companies all year around.”

I decided to go with the crowd favorite, the # 3, My Cousin Luca for $8. The Luca is a chicken cutlet, prosciutto, lettuce, onion, provolone, olive oil and mayo, on focaccia.

This sandwich is truly one of the best I have ever had. The chicken was so crispy and truly was magic. The breading was beyond tasty and complimented the coolness that the mayo provided. I would definitely suggest getting the sandwich on focaccia. It just made it that much better. I had to get the same sandwich the next day just so I could have that magical chicken again.

For breakfast, the breakfast grilled cheese was described to me in perfect detail and it sounds like something I will have to get next time. This grilled cheese consists of two fried eggs, bacon, American cheese and home fries for only $5.50. It sounds like heaven on two pieces of bread.

What is truly great about Russo’s though, beside their great food, is the sense of community and love that Russo’s evokes within it’s customers.

“I love the community aspect of it,” Russo said. “I love that people come in and I know their cats names. In a world that is so disconnected, we are like an old school corner store. Everyone knows our names and we know theirs. It’s a nice homey vibe.”

As a Russo’s enthusiast, an anonymous student at SUNY New Paltz, once eloquently said:

“It’s the best feeling to walk into your favorite place to eat and they know your name and order. It will always be that magical place for me and for that I am grateful.”

Russo’s Italian Deli can be found on Facebook and Instagram or on their website: