In 1965, Richard and Christa Lange moved with their daughters, Vicki and Heidi, to Crest Road. Mr. Lange took over the existing “The Little Store and Deli,” put his name on the sign (“Lange” rhymes with “bang”) and started serving the fresh, homemade classics that are still favorites. Mr. Lange’s successful enterprises over the years included stores in New Jersey, Scarsdale and Bronxville, but this community eatery has remained at the top of the hill on King Street since Vicki started kindergarten in Chappaqua.
What is “Lange’s secret sauce” for 50 years of success? “We just make the best homemade, great quality deli food that we can,” says Vicki.
Since 1967, there are daily fresh selections, great sandwiches and cheerful company. Starting at six a.m., Lange’s is packed solid with breakfast crowd regulars who grab their coffees, bagels, muffins and bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches to go. At lunch, groups of Horace Greeley High School students text in their orders (914-506-5388) and their hearty sandwiches are ready to devour when they arrive.
There is always chicken cordon bleu on Thursday, fish on Fridays, and daily fresh roasted turkey and homemade chicken noodle soup to hit the spot. The savory, comfort food in the steam table is very popular with the crews of construction, landscaping and painters who appreciate the ample parking for their vehicles and a chance to fuel up on savory lunch specials such as tasty burritos, rice, ribs, meatloaf and jerk chicken.
Parents also love to pick up delicious items for healthy dinners. Favorite options include broasted chicken (“we use a special pressure cooker so it is crispy but not greasy”), mashed potatoes, split pea soup, eggplant parmesan, and even Cornish hen. There are various great salads (kale, chicken, spa tuna, egg, cucumber or fruit) and flavorful sides. “Lange’s was our second kitchen while we were renovating ours,” attests one grateful mom.
As Hillary Rodham Clinton said in 2016, “Lange’s is Bill’s and my favorite neighborhood spot. The only thing better than the coffee and sandwiches is getting to catch up with all the friends who drift in and out all day long.” Mr. Lange is known to share laughs with customers, especially making sure all kids always leave full and happy. The managers, Rich and George, have been at Lange’s for more than 25 years and their staff will make anything for customers (“people ask for avocado a lot these days”). They fulfill many catering orders for events and holidays such as Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. Families love wings for their Super Bowl parties (“always big orders if it is a home team that is playing”), and load up with signature sandwiches, pickles and chips for car trips.
“‘Stay in your own lane’ is a good way to describe what we do. We have four cooks who start at seven a.m. to make everything fresh. Generations of families come here and they know they are going to get the food they remember. I always make sure we have the sides–cole slaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, ambrosia salad, the custard and jello –that everyone loved” says Vicki, who demurs that she “just works here like everyone else.”
Remembering how she used to buy Levi’s jeans at Family Britches, got ice cream at Lickety Split, and shopped at the Old Colony as a kid, Vicki is hopeful about the new infrastructure and streetscape projects in downtown Chappaqua. “More people walking around, more restaurants in town, it’s all good for us. You become your own competition to be the best that you can be.” Vicki offers that Lange’s will be improving its seating since customers like to linger to chat or use the WiFi and sprucing up with new paint soon.
Not only is Lange’s truly a beloved local business, it also makes a difference in the community by quietly supporting organizations with generous donations of wraps for fundraisers, food at Thanksgiving and Christmas for families in need, meeting space for Habitat for Humanity and hosting Empty Bowls volunteers. There are many stories over the years of how Mr. Lange has refused payment for coffee for ambulance volunteers or provided sandwich trays for local non-profit events.
As a 50-year-old institution, Lange’s has shared in a myriad of joys and sorrows with its loyal diners. Every day, its “old-fashioned goodness” continues to shine out though, greeting hungry, loyal customers (and celebrities) who come to the top of the hill for Lange’s always friendly hospitality and deeply satisfying menu.
Dana Y. Wu is a freelance writer and a local Chappaqua mom who appreciates having Lange’s at the top of the hill.
What Chappaqua Moms say … “What is your favorite thing about Lange’s?”
- “The South Greeley”
- “Roast beef, with cheddar and BBQ sauce on onion roll”
- “Green chicken panini”
- “Vicki is my favorite person!”
- “Toasted and scooped everything bagel with egg whites, bacon, cheese, ketchup, salt and pepper… please..”
- “The Betty–chicken cutlet with tomato, mozzarella, basil”
- “Sometimes my husband and I lie in bed and talk about how delicious their macaroni salad is. Okay, not really. Except sometimes, really.”
- “We love their egg sandwiches!!”
- “My kids love their Philly cheesesteaks!!”
- “Fresh turkey lettuce tomato with Russian dressing on pumpernickel bread.”
- “Grilled cheese with chicken cutlet and bacon on white in the panini press.”
- “The Cuban sandwich for sure.”
- “Turkey on toasted rye with Russian dressing and cole slaw. Extra on both the dressing and slaw.
- “Chicken cutlet on a roll with cole slaw and Russian.”
- “Everything is delicious at Lange’s but if you ask my son, he will say that his favorite thing is seeing Mr. Lange!”