As just about anyone who’s ever actually worked for a living on the North Fork knows, there is just one place to fill your belly with a solid breakfast when you’re anywhere near Greenport.
It has come to our attention that the newspaper of record on the North Fork recently managed to overlook Sterlington Deli’s hungry man in their list of the best egg sandwiches on the North Fork.
This led to all kinds of existential dilemas among devoted diners at the deli. Karen and Fred Schultz had to beg their customers not to launch petition drives to have their sandwiches named the best on the North Fork. They even begged us not to take pictures of their hungry man. But we couldn’t resist.
The truth is, they already have too much business, and if more people know about how great their sandwiches are, they might just not have time to breathe.
Now, this time of year is just about the latest time of the year that one can work on a scaffold alongside one of the aging (read ‘historic’) gems of Front Street architecture, before the cold weather sets in and paint just won’t dry and the wind whips you mercilessly.
If you go up on one of those scaffolds without a solid breakfast, well, you’re just asking for trouble.
When I was a young lass moping around Greenport, there were scaffolds everywhere. Every week, a building was getting a new paint job or a soffit was being repaired or there was some kind of heavy façade work being done.
The only tools I knew how to use were a pencil and a word processor, and I’d look up at all those workmen high on their scaffolds and wish I could join them up there in the air. I’m sure all those guys were in good shape for a day’s work after eating a hungry man at the Sterlington Deli.
When you let fate hand you anything, well, sometimes, what you need just falls into your lap. Sometime in late September, I received an offer I couldn’t refuse. I helped a friend load a scaffold in the back of a pickup truck and we set it up alongside a historic house in Greenport.
Our paint cans were clattering and our pencils were freshly sharpened with sheetrock knives, tucked point-first behind our ears. Our back pockets were filled with scrapers and brushes, the radio was tuned to WLNG, and the sun was spreading its morning glow across Puerto Verde. And, from down at the Sterlington Deli, we could smell the bacon frying and we could hear Fred and Karen bantering with their customers.
We could almost hear the crack and the beating of the eggs, and the little bell when every order was up. Each day, when the sun stopped warming our little spot on the scaffold and the October shadows began to chill us, we’d duck into the deli and order up a hungry man over easy, with a bottle of hot sauce.
Truth is, Sterlington Deli’s hungry man doesn’t just feed a hungry man. It feeds a hungry man and a hungry woman. It feeds a need for friendship and truth. It feeds the heart of a seaport in transition, desperate to hold on to the past in an era when the media overlooks the necessities of life in search of the latest trend.
There are no avocados on the Sterlington Deli’s hungry man. And that’s the way it should be.
Sterlington Commons Delicatessen
3 Sterlington Commons
Greenport, NY 11944