Frank and Joe’s Deli, Scarsdale: Lou Presta

Frank and Joes FINALIt may seem typical on the outside, in its sign-frenzied suburban shopping center location, but this neighborhood gem’s grab-and-go sandwiches hit the spot in a hurry.

A family business, Frank and Joe’s Deli, now run by Lou Presta who began sweeping the floors at age seven in his father Frank and Uncle Joe’s deli in the Bronx, offers an A+ take on old-school pastrami sandwiches on your choice of seven breads. Try a “My Cousin Vinny,” meatballs, provolone, onion and peppers inspired by the signed black and white photo of Vinny Vella (Jimmy in The Sopranos) on the wall—it’s delicious. Order the Edgemont High School “T-Bird” in advance. The massive pile of tender chicken cutlet, bacon, lettuce and mayo on a seeded bun is a local fan fav, along with the Scarsdale salad and baked eggplant and mozzarella wrap. Frank and Joe’s also specializes in rotisserie meats, authentic handmade pasta, and antipasti sourced from local purveyors.

When the slicer broke, Lou needed a new one in a hurry and turned to an online lender. After realizing he was paying double digit exorbitant interest (in the neighborhood of 25%), he turned to Community Capital New York for a small business loan for working capital, to purchase a point-of-sale system, and to refinance the loan from the online lender, saving him four months of interest payments equating to $10,000. With the additional working capital the Community Capital loan provided Lou added two employees for a total of seven, the majority of which are Hispanic immigrants eager to learn the trade. In addition to a small business loan, this second-generation deli owner benefitted from a Community Capital scholarship, enabling Lou to revise his website and put his menu online. “Community Capital was a godsend,” said Lou. (See his You Tube video)

How did Community Capital help?

It was a family business originally in the Bronx. I moved the original store to Pleasantville in 2000, sold that in 2007, and opened here in 2008. When my slicer broke I needed the money quick. I had to replace the equipment because I couldn’t serve food without it. I used an online lender, and my accountant recommended I try Community Capital because he figured out I could save more than $10,000 in interest payments. I borrowed $25,000 from Community Capital for working capital, a website and a point-of-sale system. We had no way of keeping track of inventory and orders. This way we’ll have fewer mistakes. Now you can type in a sandwich order instead of handwriting it and having to walk it back to the kitchen.

How did your business evolve?

We deal with working people that commute from Yonkers and the Bronx, as well as the community that lives here. It took a while to get the balance right. We offer sandwiches, salamis and handmade pasta from the Bronx, and introduced a lot of very popular salads, and sandwiches popularized by local high school students. As a kid I worked with my Dad, and owned my own piece of a store with my Dad in my mid-20s, before opening my own.  I learned to have a wide variety on the menu to suit different clientele.

When will you know you’ve made it?

When I’m sitting on a beach, retired.

What’s next? Putting three kids through college, one at Fordham for communications, one at Manhattanville for psychology, and one at UCONN for sports medicine. They’re the first in our family to go to college, but they’ve all worked in the deli at some point. And expanding next door. The retail space is vacant, and I’d like to make it a restaurant and café using the same kitchen as the deli.

Frank and Joe’s Deli, 702 Central Park Ave, Scarsdale, NY 10583, (914) 723-5454,