The Work We Do: Natea Markhvaidze, Natea’s Deli

My name is Natea Markhvaidze. I’ve owned Natea’s Deli for the last two years.

I [moved here] from the Republic of Georgia. I love Riverhead. I’ve been here for 19 years.

I was looking for a long time for a nice place to open [a deli] because I wanted to show the people what I can do for them to have good, healthy choices.

I love people. I’m very friendly. I worked in Greenport 15 years and I’ve lived in Riverside here for nine years. I know a lot of people and everyone knows my food [because] I’ve had a couple of food tastings, one on the South Fork and one in Greenport, and people loved it. I said I’d love to open a deli and they all said ‘you can do it! You’re a good person. You like people, your food is good.’ So it gave me a lot of push.

I come in at 7 or 8 o’clock. If it’s catering I come earlier, depends on the day.

Natea Markhvaidze. (Credit: Rachel Siford)

I’m the chef, I’m the manager, I’m the owner. I have to clean the chicken, I have to cook the chicken, I have to make salads, I have to make the soups, I have to cook everything.

I bake my own pastries. I make my own creams, my own pastries and dumplings. I make cheesy bread. We grew up on cheesy bread and fondue, so I love to make it here.

Any order that comes, I’m in the kitchen.

I make everything homemade, using my own recipes. I make my own spices. I use fresh everything. I don’t freeze anything and I don’t buy anything frozen.

I love cooking, and I grew up with healthy food. My mom had everything at home in the garden — all the chickens, pigs, cows to make the cheese, everything — so I learned to make healthy choices and I saw a lot of fresh food around.

My first long job was in Riverhead and I loved it here. I worked in Riverhead for two years and I decided to stay. I’m a country girl, I grew up in the country, so I love it here. It feels like I’m in my own country.

I don’t feel like I came from somewhere [else.] This feels like my own home.

‘The Work We Do’ is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. This weekly feature is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview. See the complete list of previous profiles here.