16 May 2011

The Saddest News in Forever

Joe's Superette, a historic pillar of the Carroll Gardens Italian-American culinary history, is closing. Unbelievable and unbelievably heartbreaking.

Here's the whole, horrible story from Pardon Me for Asking:
The old fashioned deli at 349 Smith Street between Carroll and 2nd Street is closing its doors after more than 50 years. The original owner, Joe, for whom the deli was named, ran the place with his wife and daughter for decades. They did all the cooking out of the relatively small kitchen in the back. When Joe was ready to retire, he sold the business to one of his employees, Leo Coladonato. Leo knew the store and its customers well. One could say that he had grown up there. He had started working for Joe when he was just a kid, delivering orders. As he became older, he made his way behind the counter, slicing cold-cuts and making sandwiches.
When he took over the business in 1985, Leo kept the name and the old "Joe's Superette" sign, so everyone continued calling it Joe's. All through the 1980's and 90's, there were long lines in front of Joe's at lunchtime. Though customers loved the overstuffed sandwiches, they really came for those famous prosciutto balls that Leo made in the small kitchen in the back of the store. Deep-fried to golden perfection, the gooey, cheesy bites of breaded ricotta, mozzarella and ham were there reason why people came to this place from all over Brooklyn. They were simply heavenly. Sadly, Leo has had health issues in reason months. Louie, who has worked for Leo for a few years, has kept things going in the store. However, the decision has been made to close Joe's Superette. The store is being emptied right now.
I have eaten those prosciutto balls a hundred times. Every time, they have been phenomenal. There's just nothing like them. They're Italy-good. Not just Italian-American good. They're that fantastic. I loved them so much, when I did my walking tours, I bought a couple dozen and fed them to my fellow walkers. I doubt anyone in New York can replicate them.

I will write a longer, more detailed tribute later. Too sad right now. Couldn't they have given us a week's warning, so we could have had just one more bite?


JAZ said...

Wow, I have never eaten there, but your words make me regret this now. My heart goes out to everyone who loved that place - from the way you describe it, I have a feeling you are far from alone.

What a wonderful sign - I really hope someone saves that for future usage.

M.Lane said...

I am so sorry to read this, but I wanted to say yet one more time how much I love this blog and how great your work here is. Thanks.


Sweet Lily said...

It's truly sad. Sigh...

Anonymous said...

At least it's not closing because the landlord jacked up the rent.


Ken Mac said...

yet another place I never made it to. I need to check out Carrol Gardens, Gravesend and where else Brooks?

Anonymous said...

I went by there yesterday afternoon to pick up some poschuto balls, after spending a long weekend in Florida, I needed my fix.
To hear this news is so sad. It truly was one of the of the greats in the neighbourhood.

bigmissfrenchie said...

That stinks, but at least it's for a normal human reason, not because some landlord is jacking up their rent. Maybe if I go by and ask, they'll give me that sign with "UL" phone number.