An older photo of Leo Coladonato, which hangs in the store.
Louie has helped Leo run Joe's Superette for years.
Leo making an order of prosciutto balls
Here goes another Carroll Gardens institution, another piece of neighborhood history. Say good bye to Joe's Superette. Sad, I know...
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. Deep-fried to golden perfection, the gooey, cheesy bites of breaded ricotta, mozzarella and ham, they were the 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.
How sad. It is, indeed, the end of an era.
Sadly, Leo passed away on Thursday, May 19th, just days after his store closed.
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