Spena departs from Landenberg Store08/06/2019 12:38PM ● By Richard Gaw
On July 21, 2018, following a three-year period when it was closed to the public for repairs, the Landenberg Store officially reopened, and Chef Mark Spena was given the keys to the store’s next chapter.
After one year, Spena has departed as the chief proprietor of the historic store.
After taking over the management of one of Landenberg’s most treasured landmarks, Spena began to give the traditional country store an Italian-infused take-out restaurant feel, while also retaining a bit of the small-town charm of a store that has served as the social outpost for Landenberg since it first opened in 1872.
Spena brought his talents as a chef to the business, and suddenly, the well-known staples of the store’s penny candy jars, a small lending library and household items were sharing the store with rows of imported pastas, freshly-made spaghetti sauces, and a display case filled daily with an array of gourmet cheeses and store-made breads. Spena also featured meats and side dishes like eggplant parmigiana, chicken cutlets, spicy carrots, beef hummus, chicken piccata, Angus flank steak, roasted garlic basmati rice and store-baked loaves of bread.
Store owner Beth Skalish said that while some patrons of the store enjoyed the new variety of options that Spena featured, others told her that they missed the more traditional staples that the store has become known for. She said that while she is not immediately looking for a replacement for Spena, the store’s menu will veer off the path of the higher-end, Italian market items that were featured there over the past year. In addition to pre-made and made-to-order sandwiches, customers will be able to purchase cut lunch meats to order, take-away dinner options and salads – as well as continue to enjoy penny candy.
“We’re just trying to bring the Landenberg Store back to its roots, to be the center of our community, and to have some events in Landenberg that involve the store,” Skalish said.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].