1248 Whitney Avenue

Hamden, CT 06517

fb_icon twitter_icon google_icon ig_icon1 Whitneyville Food Center Patrice

Meet Owner Patrice

Meet the Staff

1) How long has Whitneyville Food Center been opened?

Whitneyville was opened in 1963 by my late father-in-law Miles Notarfrancesco.


2) How did you get into the business?

My husband Michael was the manager and owner Miles’ son. Michael passed away in 1991 and I jumped in feet first.


3) What’s your favorite part about your job?

The people!  My customers have become my friends because I get to share slices of their life with them. On any given day, I can wish someone a Happy 96th birthday, and I can meet the new baby of a customer. Our store is family based so we love sharing moments with our customers who become friends over the years.


4) What’s one item you carry you can’t live without?

That’s a tough one, but if I have to choose it would be our house made hamburgers. Our butcher Johnny makes a special blend and it is to die for.


5) What’s the best new product?

Jenni’s Ice Cream. We now carry all the flavors. It’s creamy, made in small batches, has unique flavors, and it just fabulous. In fact, it’s the perfect treat after enjoying a burger!


6) What is one product or service you wish more people knew about?

Definitely New York’s Famous homemade Rafetto Raviolis. We’re the only people in New Haven County that carry them. We have to go pick them up in Stamford, but it’s so worth the extra effort.  They are made by a family company, which we love supporting, and the owner is in her 90’s and still oversees their small market in New York. They are tender, fresh and delicious.

Meet Lee

1) How long have you worked at Whitneyville? How did you get involved?

My sister Patrice is the owner and I filled in for her about 18 years ago when her son-in-law was going to Iraq and my niece was expecting her first baby.  Patrice was going to stay with her daughter in California to help and I was just going to take care of things at the store temporarily. At the time, I was a rep for a book company, but I loved working at Whitneyville so much that I never left!


2) What’s your favorite part about your job?

I know everyone says this, but it has to be the people. I love the new families that come in. The kids are so cute – they play with the little grocery stand we have set up for them in the back and help their parents shop. You watch them going from sitting in their parents carriage to pushing their own carriage. It warms my heart to watch them grow and change over the years.


3) What sets Whitneyville apart from other food stores?

I feel that one of the most important things that sets us apart is the personal service you get here. You can really customize anything you want. We carry your bags to the car, we will shop for you if you call ahead and need that service. Our customers are like friends. If someone hasn’t been in a while, we call to make sure they are alright. Sadly, that kind of service is hard to find these days.  We are really here for you, the customer – whoever you may be and whatever you needs may be.

Also, our products run the gamut in terms of price. We have everything from Campbell’s soup to high end olive oil at $45. We definitely have something for everyone. We are also committed to carrying local products as much as possible and promoting local farms and businesses.


4) What are your favorite products in the store?

My favorite products are the sweets. We have great bakers and wonderful pies and tarts that satisfy every sweet tooth out there. If you’re going for a special dinner or want something delicious for dessert for your family, we have it all. Also, our assortment of cards. We carry a great company called Caspari. It’s fun to meet with the salesman and pick out the new patterns for each season.  Caspari’s cards, napkins and hand towels make a lovely hostess gift and are perfect to pick up by themselves or pair with a jam and/or cheese. I am always happy to help put together a little gift for someone. It’s a fun part of the job.

Meet Johnny

Department: Meat | House Made

1) How long have you worked at Whitneyville Food Center?

Well you could say I was born in the basement so to speak! I used to work at Whitneyville in the summers as a young teenager, because my uncle Miles was the owner so I grew up in the business. Camp Whitneyville – that’s what we called it when Mom dropped us off. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.


2) What’s your favorite part about your job?

The people for sure. We have such a nice clientele base. The people that come in have watched me grow up and now I get to watch their kids and their kids kid’s grow up. It puts a smile on my face every day.


3) What’s one item you carry you can’t live without?

That’s a tough one…we sell so many of the chicken cutlet subs. No matter what, they are always a great go-to…comforting, crispy and great juicy flavor. That’s one of my daily routines; I know I need to fry up those cutlets by lunch time because they’re gone by the afternoon! And also my lasagna – just like Grandma used to make it. It’s perfect for people on a night when you don’t feel like cooking but still want the benefits of a home cooked meal.


4) What’s a cut of meat or product you wish more people knew about?

Our organic meats. People think chicken is chicken and eggs are eggs until you try organic. It’s healthy, fresh and really worth the extra money. The organic Smart Chicken, which I love, is raised pesticide, hormone and GMO free and boy does it make a difference!

Meet Mike C.

Department: Meat

1) How long have you worked at Whitneyville?

I started in 1991 – so 25 years. Wow – it has flown by. I have loved every day of it.


2) What’s your favorite part about your job?

No day is the same in the 25 year I have been at Whitneyville. Whether I am helping a Mom of 3 select her cut of meat for dinner that night, making a sandwich for a hard working police officer who is a regular or delivering a meal to a group at Yale, the days zip by with the excitement and business this store has.


3) What’s one item you carry in the meat dept you wish more people knew about?

I wish people would buy more meat. We carry such great meat products. These days people come in for one item, but in the old days, people would come in and stock up. Also that meat doesn’t have to break the bank. Yes, some of our steaks are pricerier than others because of their excellent quality, but we have other delicious flavorful cuts of meat like pork chops, flank steaks and ground chuck that wont hit you hard in the wallet, but will keep your family full of good nutrients and satisfied.


4) What’s your favorite product in the meat department?

Neiman Ranch products are superior quality. Their mission is “Never-Ever Natural” which means their animals are NEVER given antibiotics or artificial hormones, and their animals are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. This results in the best quality meat and you can taste it in the product.

Meet Mary

Department: Prepared | Daily Specials

1) How long have you worked at Whitneyville?

Three years.


2) What’s your favorite part about your job?

The people. I love coming to work every day because we all get along like family. We help each other out and support one another. One the flip side, I love helping the customers, especially the older people. They are sweet, patient and kind and I try to return that behavior and go out of my way for them.


3) What’s one item you carry that you can’t live without in the kiosk?

Butternut quinoa – it’s one of the most popular prepared items. Really healthy, full of flavor, and good at any time of day. It’s so different than anything I’d make at home, so it's the perfect thing to get here where it’s all made for me!


4) What’s the best new product?

“To Die for Cheese.” I love it! It’s a different flavor, made with really great ingredients. There are all different kinds, so there’s a flavor for every taste. It’s also an easy horsdourve. Easy to pick up on your way home as a weeknight treat, if you’re having company, or on your way to someone’s house and need to bring something. It’s not just a generic brick of cheese – this is delicious.


5) What is one product or service you wish more people knew about?

The kiosk in general. A large variety of prepared foods that's are so easy to pick up on the go. Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, whatever you needs may be, we have it. You can have a delicious, healthy meal with no mess or work.

Meet Carol

Department: Prepared | Bakery

1) How long have you been baking? What do you do for WFC?

I’ve been baking professionally for a long time….close to 35 years. I make the baked goods for Whitneyville Food Center – quiche, cakes, pies and tarts, breads, muffins, and scones. I love what I do and especially enjoy making the special orders for our customers.  I’m happy to fulfill their requests and always excited to take on a new baking challenge.


2) What’s your favorite part about your job?

Well, I think the nicest thing is that a lot of my former customers from my previous store Patisserie Normandy are also customers at Whitneyville Food Center. So I still have contact with them through Whitneyville. That’s really nice for me, because I got to know them over time and was sad when my store closed. This is the best of both worlds. I get to bake and still see the folks who are enjoying my creations!


3) How do you develop your delicious recipes and combination of flavors?

I have a lot of recipes that I have perfected over the years and I use those as my standards. Then I make special items based on what’s in season.  I love making my fresh fruit tart, frangipane tarts, and tomato basil quiche – those are tried and true standards folks just keep coming back for time after time.


4) What’s your favorite or most popular item you make?

That’s an impossible question – They are all my babies…everything is unique and they have their own challenges and rewards.


5) What’s an item you make you wish more people knew about?

Well, the reason I usually have standard things I like to make is because those are the most popular items. If people wanted to order something new, I’d be happy to try new things.

1) How long have you worked as a cook?

I started working in the vegetarian food industry when I was 26, so a little over 10 years.


2) What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love having access to the wonderful locally sourced, sustainable produce that we sell here at Whitneyville Food Center. We have such a high quality and unique selection of fresh products. I’ve never worked with such great food.  Also, the people. I love knowing returning customers, chatting with them, suggesting different dishes based on previous things they’ve gotten and knowing their names and having them know mine. It’s a wonderful place.


3) How do you develop the salad recipes and combination of flavors?

Some of them I’ve learned along the way working in various vegetarian establishments. Some I have created just knowing flavor profiles. I really like mixing sweet and savory and people seem to respond to that. Of course I’m also inspired by the excellent ingredients we have in the store.


4) What’s your favorite salad or prepared food item?

I especially love the spicy sesame noodles.  It’s a great mixture of hot pepper sesame oil and agave nectar and soy sauce that really bursts with flavor. It’s a wonderful blend of spicy, sweet and salty. I also love the vegan chili which I make using textured vegetable protein to give it substance. It’s a warm, hearty chili and you really don’t miss the meat. I want people to realize that vegetarian doesn’t mean you lose flavor!

Lee Johnny Mike Mary Carol Jamie