The Italian Store’s Robert Tramonte and his $10,000 Meat Slicer.
You’re not gonna keep that here, are you?”
That’s how Robert Tramonte, the owner of Arlington’s The Italian Store, was greeted by his wife when he brought home a four-foot-tall, 275-pound, vintage Berkel slicer.
Her attitude changed—“I don’t know how to say it,” jokes Tramonte. “She loves it.”—after she witnessed how it transforms Prosciutto di Parma.
“I literally take the slice out and I hold it up in the air and you can see through it,” says Tramonte. In fact, he insists that this “work of art” (he also compares the slicer to a Ferrari), can cut meat thinner than its electronic successor.
For electric-powered devices, “the blade is so fast that it causes friction and the friction also creates a little heat,” says Tramonte. “Due to that you can’t ever get a slice as thin as you can on the fly wheel. It’s sort of a physics thing.”
Since discovering the vintage Berkel’s slicing prowess, Tramonte has become a collector. In addition to the circa 1951 model 115 (pictured), he also owns a smaller 1937 Berkel and is considering a third from 1954.
Tramonte originally bought his Berkel to use for tasting demonstrations at The Italian Store’s second location in Westover and with its debut set for December, unfortunately, his wife might get her wish. —Stefanie Gans