WESTFIELD, NJ – Duke’s Deli, a Westfield staple that closed about 10 years ago, is set to reopen with a limited menu Wednesday morning, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m. in its former location at 339 South Avenue West, across from the Westfield train station.
Eventually, new owner Dominic DeStefanis plans to offer a full range of breakfast sandwiches, omelets, coffee and bagels within easy reach of commuters on their way to work, plus the submarine sandwiches that made the original restaurant a town tradition. He is also considering expanding into catering.
“Once the grill is turned on, we’ll be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” DeStefanis said Tuesday while setting up behind the counter. Duke’s will be open seven days a week.
DeStefanis anticipates holding a formal grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony later this month.
“I think in about two weeks, hopefully,” he said.
Duke’s has taken over the space previously occupied by Brownie Points Bakery, which opened in January and closed three months later.
DeStefanis, 31, who runs Duke’s with his girlfriend Renee Collins, started his restaurant career at the original Duke’s.
“I worked here in high school,” he said, adding that he came to the deli after taking classes at a vocational school. His responsibilities back then included prep work, cooking and bussing tables.
DeStefanis went on to cook at restaurants of varying cuisines, including Brick Oven in Morristown, he said.
His father, Robert, also owns the building that houses the deli.
Duke’s has a long history in Westfield. Its original location was at 515 South Avenue, near the traffic circle, but it was later relocated to its current spot.
“I believe it was opened in 1955,” DeStefanis said. He estimated that it closed about 10 years ago.
Collins pulled out an undated menu listing about 30 types of sub sandwiches from the former Duke’s to show. At the top was printed its familiar adage advertising its renowned six-foot subs: “Thinking of a snack? Unexpected company?”
DeStefanis said that he and Collins are still finalizing the deli’s hot menu. He noted that they plan to sell six-foot subs.
“We’re trying to … bring back the old Duke’s, with a new twist,” Collins said.
She and DeStefanis are proud to revive the deli and to serve the community.
“It had just been a landmark in town, and it seemed like something the town had been missing,” said Collins.