Roberto Dialessandro takes great pride in his mother's family recipes.
The Hunt Club area resident recently opened his own Italian deli — Robbie's Corner — in Urbandale to share some of the homemade cooking he has enjoyed his entire life.
Since having its soft opening on December 1, Robbie's Corner has seen a steady stream of people come by to try its sandwiches, pastries and many other Italian dishes. He said that as word has spread, customers have come from across the city to come see what was on offer.
"First day we opened, a lady came from Greely because we told her we carry arancini and focaccia here," he said.
Arancini is a deep fried Italian rice ball stuffed with fillings.
Three generations of Dialessandros are currently working in the deli — Dialessandro's mother, Valentina, is responsible for the entirety of the deli's home-style recipes and fresh sauces. Selena, Dialessandro's daughter, has been helping run the deli and spread the word about her father's new business on social media.
Dialessandro said that what sets them apart from the average deli is that everything they serve is homemade, from the tomato sauce, which is made with vegetables from his mother's garden, to the assortment of cookies and pastries the deli has. Everything is a product of his mother's recipes.
Valentina said many of her recipes cannot be found in a cookbook, because they do not follow specific instructions.
"I'm not the type of person that will measure my salt and pepper. I'll just throw in a little bit of this and a little bit of that and then taste it," she said. She added this is her approach to cooking many of the deli's dishes such as lasagna, but when it comes to pastries, it takes a precise science and specific measurements.
The family plans to provide a catering service out of the deli, and in the spring they are hoping to add gelato to the menu.
Dialessandro and his mother have both worked in delis in the past.
He said he has been thinking about running his own business for years. So when the right timing and location opened up, he jumped at the opportunity. Robbie's Corner is leasing a space inside a Quickie Mart, at 1034 Pleasant Park Rd., which Dialessandro said has helped guide foot traffic toward the deli.
The Dialessandros hope that eventually they will be able to move the business into their own space.
"If one day, it develops into a bigger business, then yes, we'll get our own private place," said Valentina.