Joe Ferraro has taken over Herb’s Market in Montauk from the former owners, Lucille Lenahan and Gillian Mooney, who have retired and now have more time with their families. Regular customers may already recognize the new owner, as Mr. Ferraro, who officially took over the reins last week, has been in the store learning the ropes with Ms. Lenahan and Ms. Mooney since July.
“The best time to learn was the summertime,” Mr. Ferraro, 30, said Wednesday morning as well-wishers—including Ms. Mooney’s husband, Brian Mooney, and Bill Becker from Becker’s Hardware across the street—stopped by to say hello. Since summer ended, Mr. Ferraro has had more time to get acquainted with regular customers, who’ll be happy to know that the market’s name will remain the same and that its highly esteemed fried chicken and other “basics” will stay on the menu. Herb Herbert, who sold the market to Ms. Lenahan and Ms. Mooney, is still the landlord. The staff, about eight in all, will stay put, according to Mr. Ferraro.
“It’s a comfort level,” he said of what customers expect to find at Herb’s Market. Ms. Mooney and Ms. Lenahan are just “a phone call away” if he needs help, and he’s also keeping a log of suggested improvements, something he said Mr. Herbert taught Mr. Becker to do and which Mr. Becker then passed along to him.
Mr. Ferraro worked in finance in New York City for 10 years, and his family has a place in Montauk near the Royal Atlantic, which makes for an easy commute. His background in numbers should be helpful, he said, but there’s also been plenty to learn— “the whole meat department,” including ordering and butchering, and working machinery like slicers in the deli, among other things. His grandfather was a butcher in Brooklyn, so he’s always thought meat was in his blood, so to speak.
“Good luck, man,” said another customer passing through the coffee aisle last Wednesday morning.
Mr. Ferraro anticipates a big summer in 2013, and he plans to stay open throughout the winter, though the store’s hours might be cut back around February. With Ronnie’s Deli, also on Main Street, closed as of this fall, Montauk residents may be relieved to hear that news.
“People have got to eat,” said Mr. Ferraro.