Rossi’s Brings A-Game on Super Bowl Sunday

Rossi & Sons Rosticceria in Poughkeepsie comes through in the clutch on game day. On the second-biggest day for eating during the year, following only Thanksgiving, they sure have quite the repertoire of “blitz packages” to throw your way.

“It’s simple football food, but in a package,” says Roberto Rossi, the catering manager. “If they have a group of people, it’s kind of like a buffet line for their guests.”

So what exactly does each package include? Well, take your pick:

Package One ($150) — Three-foot sub | Half-pan wings | Choice of two half-pan macaroni salad, potato salad or baked ziti

Package Two($175) — Four-foot sub | Half-pan wings | Choice of two half-pan macaroni salad, potato salad or baked ziti

Package Three ($225) — Six-foot sub | Two half-pan wings | Choice of two full-pan macaroni salad, potato salad or baked ziti

Package Four ($275) — Two, four-foot subs | Two half-pan wings | Full-pans of macaroni salad, potato salad & baked ziti

Customers can also order antipasto, wings or subs on their own if they decide they do not want a full package.

Rossi’s puts together between 100 to 150 Super Bowl Sunday orders per year, which requires just a bit of preparation. When asked about how chaotic things get before the big game, Rossi laughed and said, “There is no such thing as chaos here.” Amazingly enough, he was right.

For the Super Bowl, the deli established in 1979 has three back-house employees and six front-house employees — four preparing the subs and two distributing the food. Meanwhile, a pair of employees manage the logistics of the incoming online orders throughout the week, and field phone calls and emails the day of the game.

Rossi provided a logistical breakdown of each role in preparing the food. “Back of the house handles all prepared food, like frying chicken cutlets, boiling pasta, baked ziti,” he said. “Anything that is cold prep is front of the house: Assembling sandwiches, cutting the cold cuts, prepping the mac salad.”

The night before the Super Bowl, they prepare the chicken wings, baked ziti, macaroni salad, antipasto, and cold cut platters until 9 p.m. Once the cold food is out of the way, they arrive early the next morning to cook fresh chicken cutlets for pickup beginning at noon.

“We work in conjunction to make sure they have an idea of how many trays and how much food they need to prepare, and then we do the same thing in the front,” Rossi added. “We know exactly how much feet of sandwich we’re making and we assemble the packages the day of.”

“It’s almost impossible to do everything that morning,” says Michael, a back house employee, “but we do all the chicken cutlet sub orders we have, which are about 60 to 70.”

Super Bowl Sunday is just one of the reasons Rossi & Sons has won “Best Deli in the Hudson Valley” too many times to count, and is the 16th-ranked college town food in America. With nearly 40 years under their belt as a business, it is no wonder Rossi’s is a stranger to chaos.

Dom Muccilo