New Deli Provides Snacks and Shared Space


TJ Iannelli, Deputy Opinions Editor

Students returning to Poly Prep’s Dyker Heights campus this year noticed many new changes, from the ID scanners at a multitude of entrances to the renovated classrooms scattered throughout the school. One of these changes includes a store inside the previously underappreciated Quad Tent: The new Blue Devil Deli. 

When first entering the Deli, one will find plenty of circular tables with about four to five chairs around each. At these tables, most often a few students will be gathered around chatting or a teacher will be quietly doing work. Looking to the west corner of the Deli, there is an extension of the tent pushed out to make room for a seamless countertop with a Commons Hall staffer behind it. There, a multitude of pre-packaged or fresh pre-wrapped snacks like a cup of cereal or a chocolate chip muffin are available. Along the south wall, three transparent fridges sandwich the coffee table with self-serve machines readily available. One fridge is filled with a variety of beverages and the others are filled with sandwiches, salads, and other small snacks. All of these items are available from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. with prices ranging from $1.50 to $3.00.

Assistant Head of School for Strategic Initiatives Rebekah Sollitto, along with Head Chef Louis Rossini, are behind the creation of the Deli. “The Blue Devil Deli was built upon the concept of bringing a corner café to the campus of Poly Prep,” said Rossini. They sought to create more space for students to do some casual work or just sit and chat. Sollito said, “The Quad Tent was the real perfect spot for that kind of flexibility because it’s big and centrally located.”

Rossini added that all the food served in the Quad Tent is prepared on site, just like in Commons Hall. 

Additionally, a key goal was to delegate a space for student-teacher meetings other than noisy spaces like Commons Hall. Both Sollitto and Rossini reiterated that the Deli is still a work in progress, so they hope to get more student feedback to make the Deli as satisfactory as it can be. 

While there is breakfast and end-of-day snacks available in Commons Hall, the Deli’s longer hours make it easier for student athletes to get snacks before practice. Poly Prep Alumna and varsity athlete Caroline Iannelli said, “I wish they had [the Deli] while I was there.” Iannelli went on to say that during her time at Poly Prep, she would always have to make sure she had some kind of snack or food with her before a game. Iannelli would have to either remember to bring snacks or have to go hours without eating anything substantial because the vending machine’s options only consisted of small snacks. 

Jake Rose, a junior, said, “I think it’s a good addition because Commons doesn’t open till 3:00… now [when you’re] free, you can just go to the Blue Devil Deli, [and] get a snack or a drink.” Rose added that because of the addition of the Deli, he has used the Quad Tent much more than before.

Khari Freeman, a junior, reiterated that the implementation of the Deli has convinced him to use the space more, whether that be for talking with friends or getting something to drink. 

Lauren Klein, a junior, said that the one thing she would like added to the Deli is the ability to make iced coffee. Another junior, Hank Schilling, added that he wishes the prices of the foods were lower. At the start of the school year, all of the interviewees said they wanted there to be AC in the tent. 

Sollitto mentioned that Poly Prep is in the works with a company called BullfrogTech to implement a cashless similar system at Poly Prep in the Blue Devil Deli. According to BullfrogTech’s website, “BullfrogPay is added to any student ID card. Now parents load money into their children’s BullfrogPay account and their children use their student ID card to make on-campus purchases in the cafeteria… or other venues.” 

According to Sollito, in an interview with her in late September, the official roll-out schedule for this system did not have, “a specific date yet”, but it is possible this payment system could be seen in the near future in the Deli and across campus. Sollitto added that she hopes it is possible to implement AC and is interested to see what happens in the winter, but that would be dependent on how much power usage the Deli has available. The addition of different food options is also possible based on student feedback or requests. 

Though certainly a work in progress, the Deli’s steady stream of customers makes it clear that it is appreciated by the school community. Junior Noah Savietz, the Polygon’s Social Media Manager, said, “It’s just a nice space that people can go to… it’s an extra place you can go to if you need to do work [and] the food is pretty good there.”