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We sat down with Deanna Palo, one of the owners of Stasio’s, a local italian deli and grocery store in downtown Orlando! Below is what she had to say about their family business and how they’ve made it successful!

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND STASIO’S? 

“Stasio’s is a family business. We opened up our first restaurant in 1985 in east Orlando before eventually opening up Stasio’s in 2018. Before coming to Orlando, neither one of my parents had a hospitality background or did anything food related. My mom was originally from Italy and my dad from Connecticut. When they first came to Orlando, they worked at my uncle’s italian restaurant for 6 months to learn the ropes, and then opened up their first restaurant. After doing that for years, they sold them and decided to open up Stasio’s.”

HOW HAS COVID-19 EFFECTED HOW YOU DO BUSINESS?

“We used to get a lot of customers during lunch time to come in, order, and eat inside the deli, but now we’ve seen an increase in sales of our prepared foods that we keep in the fridge. It will be throughout the day, that people will come in, head to our fridge, pick up the pre-made individually packaged meals, and go. So instead of a style of business where people come in, relax and order, it is more of an on the go style. We also pulled away all of the seats, and put them outside to make it a more comfortable setting for those that do decide to eat here. We were able to stay open the whole time during COVID-19 because we are technically a grocery store, so people come in to do their grocery shopping in addition to grabbing a bite to eat.”

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR MENU SELECTIONS?

“Traditional italian food. We wanted to bring the feel of Italy to Orlando. We make everything in-house, such as the bread and the sausage, so everything is authentic italian cooking ”

WHO ARE YOUR COMPETITORS AND HOW DO YOU STAND OUT?

“As a grocery store, Publix is a major competitor for us. We are different because we are more italian based, and they’re just a general grocery store, but you know, everyone loves pub subs, so that is something we compete with. Our other competition would be the other italian delis in the area, but we offer different selections than they do. For example, a lot of them don’t have a bakery, whereas we have a full bakery selection here that we make in-house. 

Most of them have just the meats and the subs, but not the grocery style part, so that also really sets us apart. On our shelves we have different speciality products that we get by contacting different people all over the U.S. and working with different shipping companies to get it brought here, so I really put in the work to make sure that we don’t have the same products that our competitors have. We do this because people  will come looking for specific products that you can’t typically find anywhere else such as the guanciale or the guapatini. I want to be the place that people can depend on to have specialty items.”

DOES STASIO’S HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE?

“So we have Instagram, which we are very active on, and we also have Facebook. We have a good amount of customers come in that discovered us on social media, especially Instagram. We do alot with our platform on there, so people will share our posts with their friends, or tag us, and that helps other people discover us and want to take a visit.”

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR STASIO’S? EXPANDING TO OTHER LOCATIONS IN ORLANDO OR THE U.S.?

The possibilities are endless. It takes a lot of work to run a restaurant like this because there are so many moving parts. From contacting vendors to making all the in-house products; and my family is involved in the whole process. We’re here everyday at 2am baking bread and getting everything prepared. We put our hearts into it, so being able to have a second location and provide all of that to another location would be great, but we aren’t sure what that will look like yet. It may be smaller, or possibly a bigger version, but another location will come in the future.

Do you love traditional italian food or want some fresh bakery items? Make sure to stop by Stasio’s to try them out now if you havent already!