Dominick’s Deli introduces chicken finger food truck

Dominick’s Deli introduces chicken finger food truck
Nick Marino stands in front of the deli's chicken finger food truck. (Photo by Taylor Herzlich)

While Long Island has no shortage of Italian-American delis, Nicholas “Nick” Marino says his favorite thing about Dominick’s Deli is its unique “old school vibe.”

Marino, 37, runs Dominick’s Deli with his brother-in-law Vinny, brother-in-law Dom Jr., sister-in-law Daniella and father-in-law Dominick, the deli’s namesake. The deli’s vibe,  bolstered by a green-and-white striped awning above the entrance and a bustling deli counter no matter the time of day, is likely due to Dominick’s own work history.

Dominick moved to the United States from Italy with his family when he was around 8 years old. He worked in the deli business his whole life, starting as a stock boy who swept floors and cleaned up shop and moved his way up to deli manager of Eastern Meat Farms in Franklin Square.

“He eats, breathes and sleeps the deli business,” says Marino, which is why it is no shock that Dominick  decided to open his own delicatessen.

Marino shares this entrepreneurial streak with his father-in-law. As a kid, Marino always knew he wanted to run his own business — he just didn’t know what kind. He thought he might follow his own family’s footsteps and work in construction.

After graduating from New Hyde Park Memorial High School, studying at St. John’s University for a year and taking a stab at the police test, Marino joined Dominick’s in what he thought was a temporary position while he tried to figure out his future.

“[I] felt like it was meant to be,” says Marino. “I picked it up fast, I liked being here, and the rest is history.”

And what’s not to like? Marino, who has been in a relationship with his wife since high school, has known Dominick for many years. “He’s like a father to me,” says Marino.

Marino has a close relationship with his brothers-in-law and sister-in-law. “This place wouldn’t be what it is [without them],” says Marino.

Now, as Dominick is nearing retirement, Marino’s main focus is helping the deli reach the next level.

Enter Dom’s Chicken Finger Truck. It’s a spacious, freshly painted truck that Marino plans to operate on a regular basis, tentatively Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Marino is waiting for the permits to arrive to start using the truck, but the deli has already started booking out the truck for parties.

Dom’s Chicken Finger Truck will feature a miniature menu with some of the deli’s best-sellers, including Marino’s favorite and the deli’s most-popular sandwich, the Broadway. The Broadway is a hero sandwich featuring chicken cutlets, fresh homemade mozzarella, prosciutto and Italian dressing.

Of course, the truck will also offer Dominick’s famous chicken fingers, fried to perfection with a surprisingly sweet taste. The secret ingredient? “Made with a lot of love,” says Marino.

He also hopes to expand the business by adding a second location, a smaller version of the deli that offers fast, casual dining since Dominick’s current location juggles individual customers and catering orders.

There’s no question that business is thriving at Dominick’s Deli. While Super Bowl Sunday is usually a particularly busy day for delis, Marino says this year was busier than ever: “It was the busiest day in the history of the deli.”

Employees began preparations for the big day at least a week beforehand, putting in large orders and then staying late on Friday and Saturday.

It seems likely that the deli’s success is a direct result of the labor of love that comes from working in a family business. Perhaps Marino sums it up best when he describes the difference between a good deli sandwich and a great deli sandwich.

“When you’re making [a sandwich], you gotta make it like you’re making it [for] yourself,” says Marino. “You have to make it like you’re gonna eat it or someone you love is gonna eat it. You have to take pride in making it.”

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