New BBQ deli opens in East Middlebury

EAST MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury area’s latest culinary offering is breathing new life into the longtime East Middlebury site of the Down Home Deli & Market, which for those with long memories was before then Betourney’s Market.
Chef Paul Dow, 42, opened Paul’s Deli & BBQ at 51 Ossie Road on Feb. 11 after buying the Down Home building this past fall.
For now Dow is offering pulled-pork specialties (including one dish served on a waffle that drew a positive review from a local resident); deli sandwiches, including Cubans; beverages; and cookies and brownies.
Paul’s hours for now are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, but Dow said his offerings will expand, possibly to Saturday, and his hours will probably change.
“I’m going to add hot food for lunch, and I’m going to add dinners to go. So if you want to come through and have lasagna, lasagna is a good example, lasagna for four, I can have it ready for you. I just need a couple hours notice. I haven’t started doing it yet, but I will be very soon,” Dow said. “I’ll do baked pasta dishes. I’ll do a ham dinner maybe.”
And more barbecue offerings are on the way from the East Middlebury resident who lives within walking distance of his new venture.
“I just really like barbecue. Right now I’m doing homemade pulled pork. My brother-in-law is building me a bigger smoker on a trailer,” Dow said. “Once that is ready I’ll be doing brisket, ribs, chicken, stuff like that. There’s not a lot of it around here, so I wanted something people can’t get normally.”
Certainly Dow, who for the foreseeable future will operate as a one-man show, has the background to offer not only a variety of barbecue styles, but also a diverse sandwich and dinner menu.
To start with, cooking runs in his family. His late father, Jamie Dow, was the longtime head catering chef at Middlebury College; his uncle Steve Dow ran Steve’s Park Diner on Merchants Row in downtown Middlebury for many years; and his mother, Judy Dow, made food at Lyons Place and Emilio’s Delicatessen back in the day.
And his love of food prep goes even deeper.
“My whole family cooked when I was a kid. I remember learning how to bake with my grandmother as a really young child,” Dow said.
And he’s never stopped enjoying it.
“For me it’s just really, really easy. People like what I make. I’m good at it, I guess,” Dow said.
CHEF PAUL DOW is offering BBQ, deli sandwiches and other tasty fare at his new business, located in the former Down Home Deli & Market space at 51 Ossie Road in East Middlebury. It’s called “Paul’s Deli & BBQ.”
Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
After high school he received formal training at the New England Culinary Institute in Essex, and he then spent just short of 20 years working in a variety of roles in Middlebury College’s dining services. Dow wrapped up there this past August as the night manager of The Grille, an on-campus casual eatery. He left there to begin his new venture, renovating and cleaning 51 Ossie Road before opening up.
As well as being tired of working night shifts, not making the food he really wanted to make, and not being his own boss, the lure of running his own place had stayed in the back of Dow’s mind over the years.
“It’s something I always wanted to do. I saw how rough it was for my uncle to own his own restaurant. It’s not easy,” Dow said. “But I wanted a challenge.”
He is optimistic he can make a go of the venture, especially when he adds in dinners to go. Dow recalled working a second job in the Shaw’s Supermarket produce section and watching busy families and workers buy prepared food in the neighboring deli section.
“I noticed how much their deli sells, the grilled chicken, the fried chicken, the rotisserie chicken, and all that type of stuff. And they started doing ribs, and they had the chicken wing bar. And that’s a big market,” he said.
Dow also noted there is not much competition in East Middlebury, and that he is near the junction of Routes 7, 125 and 116.
“I think it’s a lot easier to get in and out of East Middlebury than anywhere else in town,” he said. “This is becoming a pretty good neighborhood.”
Dow, who is considering adding creemees to bring in summertime business, is confident good barbecue and the greater variety of it he will soon offer will lure customers.  
“Once I get the big smoker out front and people can see it, and I have more options, I think it well help,” he said.
He will offer a variety of styles and barbecue sauces, offered on the side.
“I do homemade maple, which comes from uncle’s sugarbush,” Dow said. “And I do a mustard, and a vinegar-based, and I do a traditional, as well, a regular red. The customers seem to like it.”
Of course, there are as many barbecue preferences as there are styles, and Dow has his own.
“I like a Texas-style brisket, which is just salt and pepper and smoke,” he said. “Most people like to eat red sauce on their barbecue. I like a vinegar sauce if I’m going to do sauce, or a mustard sauce. But I will eat it with just the dry rub I put on it — the pork butts, I do for like 15 hours so they come out nice and tender.”
In his first couple of weeks, Dow said folks have apparently enjoyed what they’ve ordered.
“People seem pretty happy,” he said. “I’m getting repeat business, so people must be liking it.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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