Don Smeriglio Says Good Bye to Borrelli’s

On his last day as owner of Borrelli’s Deli, Don Smeriglio was presented with a proclamation from State Representatives Ryan Hamilton and Estela Reyes for his years of service to the community and his food donations for the homeless in Lawrence.


METHUEN – Just a week after Don Smeriglio announced that he was selling Borrelli’s Deli to the Tomacchio family, both Smeriglio and the Tomacchio’s appeared on the Paying Attention Podcast to talk about the turnover. We asked Don how he got into the business. Here’s what he said.

“I purchased the original Borrelli’s in 1993. I’m a chef by trade,” he said

“I went to the vocational school and studied culinary arts. I went on to the Culinary Institute of America, worked the circuit; country clubs, yacht clubs, hotels. I graduated in ’73 from high school, in ‘75 from college and after all that, I was just tired of working for other people.”

“So, I was working at Boston University at the time, and I read in the Sunday newspaper about a small local Italian Deli for sale. I called them, went and looked at it, and I was sold, the rest is history.”

“When I took over, it was right next to Piro’s Bakery. It was only 1,100 square feet. We had an eight-foot refrigerated deli case, sausage, mortadella, salami, prosciutto, a couple of cheeses and that’s it. Then we started doing sandwiches, like 5 or 6 a day. Eventually it got up to ten or twelve a day, now we serve two or three hundred a day.”

“I started with my niece Donna and my good friend Steve. It was just the three of us running the business and it kept growing. As space became available, we expanded, doubled our space, and shortly thereafter we ran out of space again.”

Smeriglio ended up buying Mama Mary’s restaurant and moving Borrelli’s to that location.

Asked what he plans to do now that he is officially retired.

“I love the beach and I love the ocean, so that IS the plan. We have a little place up in Wells, but that’s not really in the plan right now. I’ve never had a summer to myself. I really don’t want to do anything for about six months to a year. Italy is really the first trip we have planned, but hopefully there’s many more to come.”

“I love to play golf, I like to fish, so I’m not the least bit worried about filling my time or what I’m going to do in retirement. I’m just going to try and enjoy it. I know I’m leaving Borrelli’s in good hands. The Tomacchio family has been wonderful and it truly is a family that’s involved. My staff has been fabulous, a lot of them have been with me for 15 or 20 years and they are nervous. But, I keep telling them, ‘don’t worry, you are in good hands’.”

Asked if he plans on moving out of Methuen in retirement, Don said he will live in Methuen forever.

During the interview, Paying Attention! Podcast host Tom Duggan presented a proclamation from State Auditor Diana DiZoglio to Don for his years of service to the community. ◊