As Vince and Maria Anello sat overlooking the remnants of their beloved Merthyr Village institution New Farm Deli and Cafe on the morning of Saturday July 6, they vowed that they would rebuild their cherished business from scratch. While they were still coming to terms with the reality of their situation, customers (both regular and sporadic), friends and family flocked in droves from near and far to provide their condolences and commiserations. This mass outpouring of support made the couple realise that they had something truly special in New Farm Deli, perhaps more special than they had ever truly acknowledged. New Farm Deli was more than just a simple cafe and deli – it was an important cornerstone of the community, a crucial wholesale resource for other businesses, and it was what many considered to be the best providore in town. The realisation of New Farm Deli’s true significance jolted the couple out of their brief period of mourning and into frenzied action. Over the next week, Vince and Maria sat with Merthyr Village owners the Sorbello family, insurance representatives, builders and lawyers to plot their next steps. The goal: to rebuild New Farm Deli to its original state before the end of November.
The Anello family had given themselves five months to rebuild New Farm Deli from its bare foundations. Although no small task, Maria and Vince knew from the get-go what worked and what they wanted for the new iteration. With help from builder and longtime friend John Gangemi, the Anello’s plotted a rebuild that matched New Farm Deli’s pre-fire layout almost identically – from the checkered-tile floor and cabinetry to the wine racks and finishes. Had you last visited New Farm Deli in January, you might not notice the difference now. Only slight aesthetic changes have been made to the front of house – double acoustic panelling in the ceiling to help mitigate noise, more toilets (with an added baby change room), and some new walls (the building’s last standing pre-fire brick wall has been turned into a feature). Vince and Maria liaised with commercial-kitchen designers Food Strategy to overhaul the kitchen with some new bells and whistles, rejigging the layout and adding high-capacity equipment and technology to meet future demand. In addition to this, a brand-new cheese fridge has been installed, allowing for greater storage capacity for even more top-tier slabs. Throughout this period, New Farm Deli continued to pay its staff, opening a pop-up store at Merthyr Village to help maintain momentum and ensure their knowledgable team was looked after throughout the construction period.
The food and drink
In addition to the destruction of the venue itself, another victim of the fire was New Farm Deli’s impressive selection of goods. The Anello’s stores of Spanish jamon, hunks of Sicilian salami, rolls of mortadella and wheels of parmesan vanished overnight, but those wondering about the contents of New Farm Deli’s fridges and shelves have nothing to fear. The Anello’s long-term suppliers held onto produce in anticipation of New Farm Deli’s return, and Maria had already placed orders for 2000 panettones before the fire struck – this means that the deli is stocked with the full complement of small goods, from pasta and sauces to ready-made meals, wine and sweets. The dine-in menu is also back, serving a basic menu of New Farm Deli favourites for brunch and lunch. Maria and Vince will look to expand the menu next year, with a desire to further explore traditional Italian cooking and take its food to another level.
New Farm Deli is now open once more! For opening hours and extra details, head to the Stumble Guide.