Unsung Heroes #102

When Carmine Cenatiempo was a teenager, he worked in the John’s Best kitchen. Sandra Calise — about the same age — was a waitress.

As a young kid, he came to the US from Ischia. That’s where her grandparents are from.

No longer teenagers, they got married at Cobb’s Mill.

Carmine and Sandra then …

Thirty years ago this July 1, they bought Calise’s Market.

It was a longtime family business. The previous owners — Sandra’s grandparents — ran it as a grocery and butcher shop.

Carmine and Sandra made it more of a deli. Always a popular spot on the Post Road — just east of Sakura and Cumberland Farms — they ensured it’s a consistently good, always friendly place to eat (and linger).

Sandra does not work there. After graduating from Sacred Heart University, she’s at Settlers & Traders, her father’s real estate company.

But Carmine is always there (except when he’s making a delivery — to a Staples sports team, or any of his many other catering clients).

Carmine and Sandra never say no. Their generosity supports everything, from youth sports and the Weston Fire Department to Pink Aid.

… and now.

Carmine loves his deli, his customers and his family. He and his wife have 3 kids: Francesca (a student at St. Catherine’s in Bridgeport), CJ (who was born at home, before the Weston EMS could arrive) and Charlotte (a soccer player at Gettysburg College).

Carmine works 7 days a week. He never takes a vacation. But he visited Charlotte this spring, when she studied abroad in Rome. With CJ, they visited Ischia — Carmine’s first time back in 40 years.

If you’ve ever been to Calise’s, you know Carmine’s kindness, grace and smile. He and Sandra are humble and loving. They would never ask for anything for themselves.

So a grateful friend — Jean Lepore — is asking instead: Can “06880” give a shoutout to Carmine, Sandra and Calise’s Deli, on their 30th anniversary as owners?

We’re more than honored to do that. In fact — for 3 decades of service, generosity and kindness to our community — Carmine and Sandra are our Unsung Heroes of the week!

37 responses to “Unsung Heroes #102

  1. We all thank them!!!

  2. Westport Royalty. And a window into our collective past. The Longshore Sandwich is to die for.

  3. Karen Kramer

    Congratulations to 2 wonderful people.

  4. Arline Gertzoff

    Incredibly generous and the best tuna salad in town

  5. Chip Stephens

    Congrats Carmine and Sandra on 30 years. Calise’s is one of the few remaining LOCAL origin mom and pop shops left in town. Think about them next party you plan or lunch for the beach trip. Support the local good guys!

  6. Michael Calise

    A well deserved Congratulations to Carmine and Sandra for keeping a great family institution alive. Calise’s Market was started by Sandra’s Great Grandfather Michael in the 1920’s at 12 West State Street, taken over by her Grandfather in the late 30’s and moved to it’s present location in 1954
    Congratulations from a proud father!

  7. Stephanie Delara

    Carmine, Sandra and their family are wonderful people. Always very helpful and available. They supplied the Weston High School lacrosse team with many away game sandwiches, chips and drinks. The boys favorite were definitely the roast beef sandwiches! They are a gift to BOTH Weston and Westport. Thank You!

  8. Sal Liccione

    I want say what a great family they are always welcome all new peaple I. Town and would do anything for anybody

  9. Carrie Shea

    Carmine and Sandra and their lovely family are THE BEST!

  10. Jonathan L Maddock

    Fantastic! I loved the store when I was a grade schooler in the early 1960’s. I’d bicycle there and stand in front of the well stocked comics rack for ages before finally making my decision. My parents loved shopping there, but they ignored the comics

    I’m in NH, so I won’t be seeing you soon, but I will stop in when I’m back in town!

  11. Fred Cantor

    And Carmine used to excel on the soccer field too. Congrats on your 30th.

  12. Jeff Arciola

    Congratulations Carmine.

  13. I agree with all of the above! Such a special place run by that special family. Congratulations Sandra and Carmine!!

  14. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    And there it is, the wonderful Calise family always caring and looking out for others and the best for everyone, their home town included. Congratulation and thank you for carrying on a wonderful family tradition.

  15. Michael A Rea

    What a great guy and a beautiful family!
    Congratulations on the 30 year milestone…wishing you many more!.

  16. Cathie Miller

    Congratulations on 30 years owning Calise’s Deli and the 30 plus years of kindness and love you’ve brought to all who know you!

  17. Tamara Babun

    Yes!!!!!!! I can’t think of a couple more deserving!!! God Bless them both and Calises, on its thirtieth anniversary!!!!

  18. Terry Castellano

    Congrats! My go to place for all things catered. Best antipasto anywhere! 🎉

  19. These are some the nicest, kindest and most generous people I know. They really don’t ever say no and are always there to help provide delicious comforting meals for sports banquets, parties, anniversaries or the perfect meal to send someone who’s just had a baby or a death in the family. They deserve a heartfelt thank you for taking care of all of us for 30 years!

  20. Mary-Ann Allen

    Delicious food, however as stated in the article, remarkable people, just lovely!

  21. Leslie Riback

    Happy anniversary to two of the most lovely and kind people anyone could ever meet. Carmine, love your food! Sandra, you are a great Realtor!
    Thank you both for being who you are.

  22. Karen Solicito

    This is our favorite Westport dine-out place – which is saying something considering all the restaurants in town. My daughters, rising seniors at Staples, have been patrons since they were in a stroller and all their favorites are here. Congratulations, Carmine and Sandra and thank you for making Calises feel like a home away from home.

  23. Studs Terkel wrote of the “THIRD PLACE”; one has home, job and a third place….Carmine’s Deli is the third place for many….thanks for being there.

  24. Tiffany Chila

    The Centiempo’s are a wonderful family and Calise’s is the best around. Carmine has done several parties for us and he is also a great support to the Weston Fire Department making sure our volunteers are well fed. If you are looking for a great sandwich, a weeknight dinner delivery or a catered event, give Carmine a call, you will not be disappointed! Congratulations on 30 years!

  25. Andre Hawaux

    Calise’s and Carmine is the best….great breakfast and lunch. We have used him for a ton of catering and they never fail. Wonderful people

  26. Jennifer Lott Randall

    Beautiful people. Lotts of Love

  27. Sandra Calise Cenatiempo

    OMGOSH!!! Thank you everyone for all your kind words and especially to our good friend Jean Lepore for remembering our special date and to our loyal customer Dan Woog for honoring us! We love and are so proud of our community and are grateful for all the wonderful families and friends that have passed in and out of our door for the past 30 years! We are so excited about our “30th Anniversary” and looking forward to celebrating with everyone soon! We are hoping to have a little get together at the store – we will keep you posted !

  28. Willie Sather

    You will not find two finer people on the planet!

  29. Steve Hollingsworth

    The world is a better place with people like these two in it! I’m proud to call them my friends!

  30. John Karrel

    Carmine’s generosity knows no bounds.

  31. Effie Andriotis

    Congratulations to The Best Deli in town! And to an amazing couple!! Love you guys!! Xo

  32. Kelly Marr Asbury

    I LOVED reading this! Congratulations Sandra! Just an incredible family story. What a blessing to the history of your amazing family… your Great Grandfather, Grandfather and the sweetest grandmother (that I had the great, good fortune to spend time and play softball and enjoy many Sunday dinners with) and your father who is an incredible man. Just amazing that with all of the change over the years in Westport (unrecognizable in so many ways from when I grew up there) Calise’s is still Calise’s. Godspeed to you, Carmine and your entire family!

  33. congratulations to you both , a love story, family, family traditions. As a cousin 10 times removed maybe,who knows (lol)I think about my Westport connection often and am enamored by the story and the history of the Patriarch of this family. It’s good to read of you all through the years of your roots in Westport, your families, and success in business. One of these days I’m coming to see you all.
    All the best for you all,
    Neil (Aniello) Scott(Scotti) Dwyer( no Italian derivative)

  34. congratulations to you both,Carmine and Sandra , a love story, family, family traditions. As a cousin 10 times removed maybe,who knows (lol)I think about my Westport connection often and am enamored by the story and the history of the Patriarch of this family. It’s good to read of you all through the years of your roots in Westport, your families, and success in business. One of these days I’m coming to see you all.
    All the best for you all,
    Neil (Aniello) Scott(Scotti) Dwyer( no Italian derivative)

  35. Carolanne Curry

    Who are the people and what are the places that make us deeply aware of why we love this Town.
    ….” Carmine, Sandra and Calise’s Deli” is at the top of the list.

  36. Roe Colletti

    Congratulations to the entire Family. We’ve loved the market’s food,service and smiles since ’71. Cannot believe it’s been 30 years …so glad you finally got a Celebration/vacation,especially to your beloved Ischia. Wishing you all continued good health, joy and love.

  37. Ellen & Jeff Prackup

    Congratulations Carmine & Sandra! You are truly salt of the earth!