SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The Town Hall Delicatessen turns 90 this month, and to celebrate their anniversary, all Sloppy Joes are $19.27 through the end of February. The birthplace of the original Sloppy Joe, Town Hall Deli opened in 1927, though the Sloppy Joe didn't come along until 1935.
Town Hall Deli's name comes from when it was located on South Orange Avenue just a few doors away from the actual Town Hall. In the 1930s, the deli was purchased from the original owners, and also during that same time, the mayor of Maplewood made a visit to Havana, Cuba, which is how the Sloppy Joe sandwich came to be, and how the Town Hall Deli of South Orange became The Birthplace of the Sloppy Joe.
According to the Town Hall Deli website, the Mayor of Maplewood visited Sloppy Joe's Bar and Eatery, a place where Ernest Hemingway and other famous figures frequented, when it was open to American tourism. Joe, the proprietor, was well-known for the disarray in the Bar, which was how he got the nickname "Sloppy" Joe.
While Maplewood's mayor was at Joe's in Cuba, he had a sandwich that he loved so much that when he returned to the US, he asked Fred and Hans of Town Hall Deli to duplicate the recipe -- which was coleslaw, ham, cow tongue, swiss cheese, and lots of dressing served on thin rye bread, states the Town Hall Deli website.
Today, a variety of Sloppy Joe's are made at the Town Hall Deli, all on Pullman Rye bread with two meats, cheese, coleslaw, and homemade Russian dressing. While The Original Joe (ham, tongue and swiss) is still available, so are many other options including The Maplewood Joe (corned beef, turkey and swiss) and The Jersey Joe (roast beef, ham and swiss).
While Sloppy Joe's may be what they're known best for, the Town Hall Deli also offers soups, breakfast sandwiches, knishes, salads, and other sandwiches. There are also desserts including store-made rice pudding, crumb cake, and Town Hall's Own "New Hy's" Cheesecake.
Town Hall Deli is now owned by Toni Wonski, and managed by Matt Wonski.
Town Hall Deli is located at 74 1st Street in South Orange, and is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.