The History of Frank and Joe’s
Frank and Joe’s has been an institution in Edgemont for decades, feeding hungry students across the community. Personally, their five-dollar egg sandwiches got me through junior year, and eventually, I became interested in their history. When were they founded, how did they do during the pandemic, and who were Frank and Joe? Unable to find any useful information online, I arranged an interview with the current owner, Bobby, to find out. I’d like to thank Bobby for being so helpful. All of the following quotations are from our conversation.
Frank and Joe's was originally founded in 1961 in the Bronx by two brothers, Frank and Joe. Today Joe is retired in Florida and Frank has unfortunately passed away. The two “always had a passion for food,” and having worked in the deli of a local supermarket as kids, they eventually decided to start an Italian deli of their own. Their mother developed the recipes, all of which are still used today.
The deli quickly caught on with hungry customers loving “the homemade marinara sauce, the vodka sauce, and of course their Italian sandwiches.” The original Frank and Joe’s also sold necessities like bread and eggs, acting as a sort of proto-mini-mart.
Over the next sixty years, Frank and Joe’s grew more and more successful, and when the family moved to Westchester in 1990, it came with them. Over time, ownership passed through the family from the founders to Joe’s son Lou and eventually to the current owner, Bobby.
After the big move, the deli enjoyed immediate popularity, just as it had in the Bronx, being featured in the Westchester Magazine and on News 12. According to Bobby, “These weren’t solicited, which makes it even more rewarding.” They also quickly melded in with the Edgemont community, hosting annual Christmas dinners for the Local 456 union.
However, during the pandemic, with in-person customers all but disappearing, Frank and Joe’s suddenly had to adapt to stay afloat. With restaurants on Central dropping like flies, they revamped their business model from the sixties, selling necessities to the elderly and those who were afraid to leave their homes. Their message was simple: “We’ll sell you a dozen eggs, we’ll sell you fresh chicken breast, we’ll sell you a gallon of milk, we’ll sell you whatever you may need that you can get at a supermarket,” and through a combination of advertising and simple word of mouth, they were able to stay open. Bobby is very thankful for this, saying, “We were fortunate, we were very fortunate because we were able to keep our doors open. We didn’t have to lay any employees off, and we made it through the pandemic okay, thanks to the support of the local community.”
Today, with the pandemic having mostly faded away, Frank and Joe’s remains successful. Still, the pandemic has had one lingering effect: In 2020, all outside vendors, including Frank and Joe’s, were banned from delivering to the high school due to health concerns. However, because of a contract between the high school and the company that caters lunch, Whitsons Culinary Group, these local businesses haven’t been able to return.
Bobby isn’t spiteful about this, admitting that Whitson’s contract is “good business on their end,” but it is certainly hurting Frank and Joe’s. Pre-pandemic, they averaged around twenty-five to thirty daily deliveries to the high school, a number that is now zero. Nevertheless, students and teachers alike still flock to the deli whenever possible, hungry for T-birds (by far Edgemont’s most popular item).
Eventually, Bobby hopes to once again pass on the family business and is currently training his son, Robby, to take over in his stead. Moving forward, Frank and Joe’s will likely continue to prosper and live up to Bobby’s ideals. “If you come into the deli, I want you to be happy, I want you to get good food, I want you to get service with a smile at a reasonable price, and the main thing is, I want you to come back.”