BY DYLAN SKRILOFF
Among the good places to eat in Stony Point, B’s Nest Deli is surely on the top of many lists.
B’s Nest is actually more than a deli, as owner B.J. Slapp is a trained chef who graduated from culinary school and has worked at restaurants all over the world. For Knapp, running B’s Nest is not just a job or a business, it’s his passion in life. It shows, Slapp runs all over North Rockland helping with charity events and serving the community both as a business owner and as a fellow resident.
B.J. Slapp prides himself on the quality of his food, almost all of which he says is homemade. “My strategy is you give a customer a good quality and good price, they’re going to come back. I put out fresh, homemade food to the best of my ability from day one. I’ve had lines in the store from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and I always had quality people working for me,” Slapp said.
B’s Nest has been in business for 14 years, maintaining some of the same loyal staff for years on end, such as managers Kevin Slapp (B.J.’s brother) and Lisa Hansen. He couldn’t do it alone. “I tell him if he wasn’t here, the place probably wouldn’t be here,” B.J. said of his brother, who usually can be found up front tending to the customers.
B.J.’s domain is the kitchen and running the business. He said he works over 80 hours a week and described himself as a perfectionist. “You have to love this trade of being a chef. If you are just doing it as a job, you’ll never put out good food,” he said.
Slapp has learned to combine the persona of a chef with the acumen of a businessman. “There is a difference between a business owner and a chef,” said Slapp. “Chef’s are passionate, owners are more pragmatic.”
He is a community and a family man on top of it all. Knapp has been devoted to supporting local athletics and charity at no cost. B’s Nest Deli will often feed North Rockland High School sport teams as well as cooking turkeys for American Legion events, donating holiday meals to the elderly, and participating in Stony Point Seals’ Annual Polar Plunge, and the Cruisin’ for Kids classic car event.
In the future Slapp sees Vermont on the horizon. After a few more years (he did not say how long) he wants to open up a gourmet Italian shop featuring fresh pastas.
Slapp is a versatile cook. He said he has over 1,000 specials on B’s Nest’s menu. That’s a few more than the average deli, you might say.
Slapp got his start working at the Bear Mt. Inn in 1974 and then worked at the famous Boulderberg Mansion starting in 1977. When he was in school, he was BOCES food trades class president. Later in life he cooked in Los Angeles, Lake Tahoe, San Diego, owned a restaurant, was a sous chef under a highly regarded executive chef, and many other experiences.
However, as a 1979 North Rockland High School graduate, he had this to say about his home stomping grounds. “From living in different parts of the world our community here is a very tight knit community, we’ll back one another like I’ve never seen. When chips are down, we’ll get each other’s backs.”
A few of B’s Nest’s over 1,000 specials are:
Filet Mignon/Prime Rib
Has over 1,000 specials
Slapp also says the deli has higher quality cold cuts than the average place.
The last few years have been tough for B’s Nest as the bridge was closed for almost a year and Mirant/Tilcon/Gypsum all had closures that have hurt his business. Still B’s Nest has persevered. Catering has continued to be a strong suit, even in a slow economy.
The popular Deli Central moved into the same shopping strip, which Slapp said has actually not hurt his business. As we were talking to Slapp an order comes in, a big one, catering for 75 for a local funeral.