You would have to search far and wide to find someone who has never heard of SeaQua Deli. The delicatessen located on 4250 Jerusalem Ave. in North Massapequa has been frequented by locals for the past 32 years. Whether you want an egg and cheese on a roll with salt, pepper and ketchup before work, or want to grab a gourmet sandwich on your way to the beach, SeaQua is ready to fulfill the hungry needs of the community.
Founded in 1983 by owner Pat Spates and his father Bob Spates, SeaQua Deli has made a name for itself among Long Island delis.
“We were next door for 32 years and decided to move here for more space,” said Pat Spates, who grew up in Smithtown. “As a kid, I always worked in a deli. My father was the Entenmanns’ driver around here and he found the location. We opened up and it’s been history since.”
Pat had always wanted to be his own boss. He enlisted the help of Rick Nappi, his business partner and longtime friend to help run the deli.
“I’ve known Rick since high school. I bought Cherrywood Deli in Wantagh in 1990 and gave him a percentage,” said Pat of Nappi, who bought him out and came to work at SeaQua. “My son Sean works with me and my other son is full-time for now. My daughter also helps out as well.”
Pat’s father came up with the name “SeaQua,” as it is on the border of both Seaford and Massapequa. The deli, which specializes in gourmet sandwiches, specialty salads and breakfast platters, has a sister location in St. James with a similar menu. For Pat, his go-to item is any of SeaQua’s gourmet sandwiches, piled high on fresh bread from Manhattan, and he swears, “the best you’ll have.”
“We use local vendors and markets and have been using the same retailers almost since we’ve been open,” said Pat of where he sources his ingredients. “We are very loyal to the people that treat us well.”
The deli’s new location—a move that is just a few doors down from their original storefront—is a last hurrah for Pat. He is hoping that his kids and younger staff will take over and keep everything organized.
“Being next door for 32 years, we outgrew the place and were constantly upgrading different things,” he said of the fresh start and bigger space. “The space was available, but we also wanted to stay in the same location. I don’t think I would have moved otherwise.”
According to Pat, having a good reputation is his favorite part about owning SeaQua.
“We always follow through and make sure it’s a personable experience,” he said of his customers, who know SeaQua all over the island from deliveries and word of mouth. “The community is great and we have tons of regulars.”
When it comes to his team, Pat couldn’t have asked for a better staff, some of which are depicted in the store’s beautiful full-length, hand painted wall mural.
“It’s tough to find good help these days, but we don’t settle on people who don’t have great personalities or don’t work hard for customers,” said Pat of his employees. “The customers always comment on how friendly our staff is. If they weren’t friendly, they wouldn’t be work ing here.”
Although the new location has been open for several weeks, it has not officially made it’s grand entrance into the community. Presently, Pat does not know when the ribbon cutting will take place, but he has big plans for the day.
“We want to do giveaways and promotions when the official grand opening happens,” he said. “I’ve been doing this a long time. A lot of people know us, they’ve been coming here for many years and it’s nice making money, but having a good reputation really means everything.”
Visit www.seaquadeli.com to view SeaQua’s menu and other locations.