A good rule of thumb to keep in mind regarding Italian-American businesses—particularly those in the outer boroughs—is that Old World traditions die hard. Just as much of Italy shuts down and goes on vacation in August, so do many of Gotham's Italian restaurants, delis, shops and businesses take a hiatus during the warmer months. Over the years, I've gotten used to the fact that, from late July to late August, I'll have to do without the services of some of my favorite Carroll Gardens stores and eateries.
A couple weeks back, there were some reports that DeFonte's Sandwich Shop in Red Hook had closed its doors. The way things are going in this town vis a vis Mom & Pop places notwithstanding, I was highly suspicious of this news. Sure enough, I stopped by for a hero today and DeFonte's was open and doing its usual brisk trade. They were, as I suspected, on holiday. In fact, a guy behind the counter was joking with a customer, "I go on vacation and they say `He's closed for good!'"