When I was younger, one of my first jobs was at my dad's textile factory on Ferris Street in Red Hook. Back then the area was pretty desolate with burned out buildings and packs of stray dogs roaming the street. You really had to watch your back. But one thing was constant - you could always count on a terrific sandwich from the boys at Defonte's. The place was always busy, especially around lunchtime, with people shouting out orders. You could call it controlled chaos, but the lines always moved and everyone left happy with hero in hand.
Defonte's opened in 1922 and built a strong reputation as Brooklyn's premier sandwich shop. That is until now. The family recently opened a second location in Gramercy Park. The narrow shop, located up the block from a police precinct, is already drawing large crowds. And with good reason. The sandwiches here are terrific.
They come with names like "The Dino" ($7.95), a homemade meatball parmesan sandwich; the "Italian Stallion" (995) packed with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, fried eggplant and roasted peppers, and the "Defonte's Cuban" ($9.95) with roast pork, Virginia ham, swiss and pickles served on garlic bread. Defonte's also makes a great corned beef sandwich, hot roast beef, eggplant parm, and sausage and peppers. Breakfast is served all day. Try one of the potato and egg, or pepper and egg heroes. They're still just as good as the ones I lived on back in the day.
I'd wish the folks at Defonte's luck, but I really don't think they need it!