Photos by Tom Schassler
Whether you’re cooking a holiday dinner, or celebrating at the home of family or friends, you could always use a food-related gift, and Phat Olive has you covered. The new Katonah store has great olive oils, vinegars, and a lovely assortment of other foods and items that are perfect to enjoy or gift.
Owner Tom Schassler was a chef for more than 30 years before venturing into the retail side of the food business. “This store is chef-inspired and chef-driven,” he says. Schassler likes to engage customers in conversations about the variety of oils and vinegars he sells, what they pair well with, and how to use them. He says customers have been appreciative that he can “speak to the product” and put his years of experience to good use.
Phat Olive’s oils come from a private label reserve company in California, with olives sourced from all over the world. The options run the gamut from extra virgin to oils infused with blood orange, chipotle and green chili. Vinegars can be enjoyed with pomegranate, quince, or all-natural, aged dark chocolate flavors. The selection will change seasonally.
Schassler says he can talk about food all day, but that customers in a food store “look with their eyes but taste with their mouths.” To that end, Phat Olive has a central tasting table set up with a loaf of bread (from local bakery LMNOP) to dip into a variety of oils. There are recipes available in the store, and Schassler extols the health benefits of incorporating extra-virgin olive oil into a daily diet.
But since men and women can’t live on bread dipped in olive oil alone, Phat Olive carries other food items that support local talent. Look for baked goods, packaged mixes, and dog treats from Croton-on-Hudson’s Baked by Susan, as well as jams, jellies, and butters from Hudson Valley-based Beth’s Farm Kitchen. There are also salts and peppercorns from around the world, and since food items need to be artfully presented, serveware from Casafina in Brewster, slate pieces from Scotland, and aprons and kitchen towns. Schassler will create gift baskets filled with the store’s offering.
Moving from the back-of-house to the front was a natural transition, Schassler says. Looking beyond the holiday season, he plans on offering evening tastings and Q&As with a registered dietician. “I’m looking to have fun with this place and educate people as well,” he says.
87 Katonah Ave
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