It’s hard for me to put into words the feelings I have for the place that was a huge part of growing up. Lange’s Little Store and Delicatessen, the small, simply furnished family-oriented deli that my family has frequented since the very beginning.
I am proud to be a second-generation Lange’s-goer. My dad grew up in Chappaqua and his family ate there. I’ve been going for as long as I can remember.
If you aren’t the kind of person who likes to run into everyone you know, I wouldn’t recommend going to the Little Store at lunch time on any given weekend.
I however, live for the social scene. Although my dad doesn’t like to admit it, I know it’s his claim to fame. We can’t go there without seeing someone from his childhood. An old friend, coach, father of an old friend. You name it, we see it.
But the one person I never tire of seeing is the legend himself. The man behind it all – Mr. Lange.
Sweet. Funny. Caring. Kind. If there was a Mad Libs page for this guy, those adjectives would fill the page. I’ve never met someone like him. I think of him and see a man with a big smile and open arms.
When my family eats there, he walks upstairs and joins us. We bond over our love for Cape Cod and dachshunds. In high school, he would ask about my soccer games and my sister’s basketball games. He also gives great advice.
Today he told me that we learn something new every day. Something we’ve all heard before, but for some reason coming from him, it sounded different. He told me that every day he still learns something new.
Lange’s is a place that many people find comfort in. The hot plates and breakfast sandwiches too.
When my grandpa died, Mr. Lange was there for my family. Shortly after, my parents found platters of food atop of my grandpa’s car. No note. No ringing the doorbell. No nothing.
When my dad went solo one Saturday because I was sick, he noticed and sent my dad home with a large container of chicken noodle soup.
And when our town experienced a tragic loss two summers ago, Lange’s seemed to be a place of comfort for all. After the funeral, my sister and I felt that we needed a Lange’s sandwich to make us feel better. I guess it was a common thought. We saw many of the same faces eating sandwiches that we had seen an hour before sitting in the pews. Including members of the Lange family.
In my eyes, it’s the staple social hub of Chappaqua and a place that embodies what it means to be a community.
I felt a sense of pride as a high school freshman having just made the varsity soccer team, walking into Lange’s and seeing my face on the varsity poster hanging on the wall. I then felt a sense of pride as a sophomore, junior and senior going and hanging up the poster myself. I felt a sense of pride whenever I was introduced to someone as Gary Klein’s daughter while waiting for my sandwich. And I felt a sense of pride today when I gave Mr. Lange a hug goodbye and he said, “aw my buddy,” as he patted my back. The people that I see in Lange’s have changed over the years.
I see younger families come in after AYSO soccer games on Saturdays and think of my younger self. I see the oldcomers and think of how Lange’s has been the go-to lunch for me and my cousins whenever we all ate at Grandma’s. Turkey, coleslaw, Russian on rye bread. The Klein sandwich.
Going to college meant no more Lange’s. I was back three weeks after I left, sitting in the dining room with my parents. Mr. Lange asked why I was back so soon. My response? “I needed my Lange’s fix.”
Although the people, decor, my order and myself may change. Two things never do: Mr. Lange and my beverage selection.
I always get a Snapple. Which means I always get a Snapple fact. Mr. Lange was right. I learn something new every time I walk into Lange’s Little Store and Delicatessen. Today’s fact: “Real Fact” #845: a lemon contains more sugar than a strawberry.