Since 2004 John's Famous Deli has been owned and operated by Lenny Gerardi in Port Richmond, Staten Island. Lenny is quite seasoned in the catering/deli business, having co-owned "John's Deli" in Bensonhurst Brooklyn since the early 1980's and "John's Deli II" in the 1990's.
The original John's Deli on Stillwell Avenue has been a family run business since 1968, if you are in the area, please visit our other locations:
2033 Stillwell Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 718.372.74812438 Stillwell Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 718.714.43778905 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 718.238.8004
The Story behind why we yell "Thank You Subway!"
"When I, Lenny Gerardi was 19, I worked part time as a counter-man in the original John's Deli in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. For some extra money I found an old light fixture that resembled a bowl for customers to put tips in.
There were this group of wise-guys that came in to eat all the time. They were all dressed up and the smell of Old Spice and Paco Raban cologne would take over the store. One day they came in and one of the men said to me: "When I put money in the bowl say: "Subway!" I asked as an innocent, naive guy what that meant. He told me in the early fifties if you gave a deli man a nickel before he made you a sandwich the man would bang on the counter to show his boss he wasn't stealing, make the sandwich and use that nickel to take the subway home.
I liked the idea and started to say it every time a customer gave us a tip. In the 1970's it became a usual routine in the deli, workers started to yell it out every time a customer put a tip in the tip jar.
The habit has followed John's Famous Deli into Staten Island and every day people love to hear the phrase: "Thank You Subway!"
THANK YOU SUBWAY!