Delekta Pharmacy has been operating in Warren since 1858. At least that’s what the sign says. Owner Eric Delekta can trace his family’s ownership of the business to the 1940s. Along the walls are heirlooms of how things were back in the day; old photos, glass jars that once housed the ingredients pharmacists used to mix and match before pills were mass-produced, even an old tattered recipe book for prescriptions.
“It’s been challenging because of changes in the business,” Eric says, but offers proudly that they are still, first and foremost, a pharmacy. “There used to be five of them right around here. Back then there was a pharmacy on every corner.”
Admittedly when people think of a pharmacy now they think of rows of Tylenol, Hallmark cards and makeup, not a small family business with an ice cream counter. There are some prescriptions you can’t get filled at CVS, and mine was for an ailment Delekta is uniquely suited to handle. After eight years as a Rhode Island resident I had yet to try a coffee cabinet.
“We have one customer who drives all the way from Westport for our coffee cabinet,” says Bob Daignault, who works the fountain three days a week. Their cabinets come in four flavors – coffee, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry – and all of the syrups are made in-house with a recipe roughly a century old.
In the time I was there, two older gentlemen came in; one to pick up a prescription, the other to get his coffee cabinet.
“I’ve been coming here 65 years,” Jack Flynn tells me while Bob mixes his drink. He tells me about the time Warren won a big game against Bristol and how Eric’s grandfather gave everyone on the team the choice of a free cabinet or sundae. He jokes with the other old timer about playing baseball when they were in high school. As I watched them at the ice cream counter I realized that I had stumbled upon a moment that perfectly embodies all of the Delekta Pharmacy’s charm. It’s a place where people go to feel better, one way or another. And speaking for myself, that coffee cabinet made me feel great.
496 Main Street, Warren