EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect a previous error stating that Gov. Codey is a West Orange resident. Although he has previously lived in West Orange, the former governor currently resides in Roseland.
CALDWELL, NJ — Caldwell's Dave’s Delicious Deli, known locally for its made-to-order chicken salad and sandwiches, recently hosted a “Free Sandwich Bonanza” event, where former governor and former West Orange resident Richard Codey paid the first $15 of every order received that day.
At Codey’s suggestion after he participated in a similar event in Boonton, owners Dave and Jackie Farrell selected their slowest business day and recruited extra staff members for the event. According to the couple, the deli had more than 70 orders to fill within the first hour.
“We had our highest sales day ever,” said Jackie. “Five times our usual sales.”
Despite also seeing regular diners participate in the event, Dave was also enthusiastic to see that “70 percent of the orders came from new customers.”
He was especially excited since he and his wife had their first date at the deli a few years prior to buying it in 2015 and even had “a sandwich named after him by the prior owner.” Dubbed “Dave’s Standard,” the sandwich boasts a made-to-order chicken cutlet, garlic roasted peppers, hot ham, melted Swiss, lettuce, red onions and mayo.
Codey said he proposed holding the event to help “a small business and local families affected by the pandemic.”
Some social-distancing patrons who waited for their curbside pickup orders outside the deli greeted and thanked the governor in person as he stopped by to pick up lunch for his office, which is located down the street in Livingston.
Throughout the pandemic, Codey has been donating meals and treats to hospital and nursing home workers to “support struggling eateries and those on the frontline.”
“If I can help others, I will,” said Codey, noting that his parents taught him at a young age about being charitable and generous.
The Farrells said they were “thrilled that the governor chose to support their business” and “look forward to seeing another local business benefit from the same sort of generosity.”