By Cary Shuman
The name Powers has distinguished itself in so many aspects of Chelsea life over the past 50 years: in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall where Steven Powers Sr. served as a city official; on the baseball fields where he served as league president; and at the old Merritt Park where the Powers family’s Fourth of July party and races were second to none.
There is also another well-known venue in which the Powers family name has carried on a longtime and proud tradition in this city: the S & L Cold Cut Center on Eastern Avenue where a new era has begun.
Steven Powers Jr. has taken over the ownership of the popular sandwich shop in Mill Hill from his mother, Judy, and his aunt, Diane, who had been directing operations since 1996. Steven’s father, Steven Powers Sr., and grandfather, Larry Cesareo, first opened the shop in 1973.
“That what the ‘S’ and ‘L’ stand for: Steve and Larry,” related Powers. “I’m so proud of my father. He was a city leader with much integrity who loves Chelsea.”
Powers Jr. has put his own stamp on the business, overseeing a renovation project of the restaurant that has drawn raves reviews from old and new customers.
“I’m very excited about the new look and the changes we have made to the interior,” said Powers.
The menu, that has delighted regulars from Chelsea and area communities for years, remains mostly the same.
Large sandwiches are the S & L signature plate. “The most popular sandwich is the Italian how ever you’d like it – with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and the hot stuff,” said Powers. “Our steak and cheese sandwich is also a favorite among our customers.”
Daily specials, such as Friday’s fried haddock dinner, also bring in the masses while barbecued steak tips are the newest addition to the dinner menu.
“Not that I think I can compete with the other two big boys in Chelsea – New Bridge and Floramo’s, but ours are really good, too,” said Powers.
A Chelsea High School Class of 1987 graduate, Steven Powers Jr. is now running the show at S & L in the neighborhood where he grew up and right down the street from the rink where played in the Chelsea Youth Hockey program. He also played in the Chelsea Little League and the Chelsea Youth Baseball League.
“My first 17 years of my life were in the four-decker which is 1 Carroll St,” said Powers. “We then moved to 17 Lewis St. which is a block away.”
It’s clear that Steven Powers Jr. has inherited his family’s love of Chelsea and that his customers are happy to see him back in the city.
“Just from growing up here, I get to see so many people I haven’t seen in years,” said Powers. “But none of this would have been possible for me without the people who came before me: my mother, my aunt, my grandfather, and my father. They laid the groundwork to step in to something that has a 40-year heritage.”
Steven Powers Jr. and his longtime companion, Fran Turco, live in Revere with five children, Anthony, Marguerita, Austin, Paul and Abby. Steven Jr. is also close to his sister, former CHS cheerleader Annie Powers Baker, and her husband, Chris Baker – arguably Chelsea High’s greatest ice hockey ever – sister, Kelly Powers, and brothers, Matthew Powers and Dennis Powers.
“We were all raised by great, positive role models,” said Powers. “They just showed me how to do everything.”
(S & L Cold Cut Center is open six days a week, Monday through Friday until 7 p.m., and Saturday until 3 p.m.)