Giorgio DeLuca, a school teacher turned cheese merchant, and Joel Dean, a business manager at a publisher, dreamed of creating a place that would offer customers a sumptuous celebration of food and a venue to experience all of the pleasures that cooking and eating can bring.
The original DEAN & DELUCA opened for business in September 1977 in SoHo, then an edgy artist and warehouse district in lower Manhattan, at the corner of Prince and Greene streets. The original store was designed to evoke a turn of the century food department, replete with ceiling fans spinning over a vast array of products that lined the soaring white walls of this enchanted emporium. It was an instant success; quickly overflowing with food, housewares and customers. On display was a staggering variety of produce and foodstuffs, including many never previously sold in the United States.
“We were the first to bring in radicchio,” recalls Giorgio DeLuca, “the first to sell balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. In those early days I went out of my way to establish extra virgin olive oil ... everyone who came into the store got a taste.” DEAN & DELUCA quickly became a “not to be missed” destination for food loving New Yorkers and tourists alike. And it was soon obvious more space than the overcrowded 2,600 square feet would be needed.
In 1986, a small manufacturing company and an army/navy store agreed to vacate 10,000 square feet of street level space at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street. It was the perfect size and the ideal location. But first, one of DEAN & DELUCA’s founding partners, Jack Ceglic, would be responsible for redesigning the location around the concept of an outdoor marketplace.
There was a neo-classical, minimalist look to it all. Massive, exposed columns, Carrarra marble floors, white tile walls, stainless steel shelving and display cases. There was ample room for the meat, fish and grocery display counters that would enable customers to assemble all the ingredients for a complete meal without having to visit another store. The new DEAN & DELUCA opened October 6, 1988 to rave reviews.
Since our initial store opening, DEAN & DELUCA has added additional locations in New York City; Washington D.C.; Charlotte, North Carolina; Leawood, Kansas and Napa Valley, California. In addition, several international locations have opened in Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea and The Middle East.