By Lance Sparks

An unexpected recipe for success in a tough business: Take a vigorous young person, let them do what they love, and have them do it very well; let them have lots of fun at their work, all while carefully watching their bottom line. Add in top-quality ingredients plus acute knowledge and imagination. Mix well but don’t whip. Allow time to rise and change. The outcome is good, flavorful, healthy food at Benedetti’s Meat Market & Deli.

James Benedetti, 40, opened his market in 2009 on Centennial Blvd. in Springfield, after 11 years of training in the meat trade with Mike Wooley at the venerable Long’s Meat Market.

Benedetti was born in in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the son of Cheryl and James Benedetti. Cheryl is now a retired RN and James Sr. is a finish carpenter. James Jr. attended local Catholic schools and then Rhode Island College. But he also landed a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant; soon, he was cooking, and the menu of his life was written. A winding road led to Eugene, but he still declares his regional loyalty by wearing his battered Red Sox baseball cap.

The steaks are particularly outstanding; Mike’s ribeye cuts like butter and bursts with flavor. Benedetti’s staff members are all friendly and competent. “We have a strong squad,” James Benedetti says, and he’s right.

All of this reminds me of a childhood toast: Good golly, good wine, good meat, great food, let’s eat!

533 W Centennial Blvd., Springfield