Let’s travel back in time. Imagine it’s early December. The weather is just turning from fall to winter and the city of Hoboken is scattered with different small, buzzing businesses. There’s a butcher shop just about every few blocks and nearly a dozen or so delis. But on this very day, December 3rd, 1981, M+P Biancamano was born. Little did the owners know, this small business would emerge as one of Hoboken’s most visited spots. Somehow, between their busy schedule of serving the Hoboken community and cooking up some delicious, Italian food, Pietro, Teresa Biancamano and their son Peter sat down with Hoboken Girl to give us the scoop on this long-standing deli, allowing us to uncover the beautiful story of how they began and how it lead them to where they are now. Read on to learn more about M+P Biancamano, a classic, uptown Hoboken staple.
The Biancamano family started the deli in 1981. Together as a family, they have been running it ever since. Let’s go back in time before the deli even opened. Pietro and Teresa Biancamano were born in two small cities within the Provincia di Salerno; which is where they met. Pietro moved with his family to the United States in 1971, never forgetting Teresa back in Italy. Each summer, he would travel back to Italy to visit Teresa. During the year, the two would exchange letters, keeping the romance alive. Their trans-Atlantic relationship became a true love story when Teresa moved to the United States and married Pietro in 1981, the same year the deli opened.
For 10 years, M+Ps served as a mini-market — a butcher, deli, and marketplace for Italian goods and has since evolved, though seemingly remaining frozen in time — a true Hoboken original. Now, Pietro and Teresa run the deli entirely on their own. Giovannina, Pietro’s mother, worked in the deli until she was 85, only two short years ago! The Biancamano family has invested their entire lives into the deli and this family affair has become widely popular within the Hoboken community.
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What’s on the Menu
The menu at Biancamano’s is as authentic as it gets and the amount of work Teresa and Pietro put into every last bite is incredible. “They don’t even have a freezer,” explained Peter Biancamano, their son. “Nothing is frozen and everything is made fresh to order.” But the daily hustle doesn’t just start when the doors open. So much work goes into preparing for the day and that begins long before customers arrive. Pietro and Teresa are in the deli by 5:00AM, making fresh mozzarella, pan-frying the chicken cutlets, eggplant, and everything else. They don’t even have a deep fryer, which would make kitchen prep much easier. Everything is handmade, pan-fried, and cooked with love. And while Pietro and Teresa are the only two employees in the deli, they serve the community with undeniable enthusiasm and are proud of everything they have done together.
Without a doubt, the handmade fresh mozzarella is a popular choice at the deli, and rightfully so. The first three years of the Hoboken Mutz Fest, Biancamano’s took home the gold. Following that sweep, the festival became more of a gathering rather than a competition.
Beyond mutz, the deli has sandwiches, hot food, cold food, and everything is made fresh to order. Some popular items on the menu include the chicken parm sandwich and the signature chicken cutlet, fresh mozzarella, and broccoli rabe sandwich. Pietro is also proud of his favorite sandwich, weighing in at a whopping 2.5 pounds and includes ham, capicola, prosciutto, pepperoni, and mozzarella. M&P’s bread comes from two different bakeries in the area — the soft bread is made at Rockland Bakery in Newark and the crispy bread hails from North Bergen. Because they sell out so quickly — within hours, Pietro and Teresa make everything to order. Sometimes, people even call the day before to order, just to reserve it before it sells out.
Committing to the Community
What we love most about the deli is Pietro and Teresa’s commitment to the Hoboken community. Their humble service to the city goes beyond just serving customers. They make weekly donations to the homeless shelter, St. Matthew’s Church, and even take care of first responders. Teresa and Pietro just want to give back to the community that has given them so much. They exemplify the spirit of Hoboken, of giving back and supporting each other.
Teresa was brought to tears when sharing about what the Hoboken community means to her. “During the pandemic, the community has been so good to us. We have felt so appreciated by the generosity of the town. People were coming in and supporting us because they were grateful we stayed open and wanted us to stay open for many more years.” And that’s really what it comes down to. Hoboken is all about small businesses. These mom and pop shops that have given so much to the city continue to receive that support form the people. “People are so good to each other in this community. This is why we love Hoboken,” shared Teresa.
It’s times like these that everyone feels connected, even though we have been apart for so long. As the city begins to reopen, M+P’s will continue to serve the community. “All of the delis support one another,” the Biancamanos told us. “There are no rivalries. And when Pietro looks around the Mutz Fest year after year, he loves to see the familiar families and faces that have grown up in the business together,” Teresa said. “We all know each other and are friends.”
Pietro and Teresa even opened up their outdoor space and shared their sidewalk to help their friends at Napoli’s to host more guests while practicing social distancing. And did you know that Delfino’s — the pizzeria on 5th and Jefferson — is owned by Pietro’s first cousin? Keeping it in the family and we love it!
M+P Biancamano’s is a staple in this tightly knit community. Their owner’s warm hearts, commitment to the city, work ethic, and delicious food are what make this deli such an important part of Hoboken.
Have you eaten at M & P Biancamano’s yet? Tell us in the comments!