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How Does An Old-School Fair Lawn Deli Stay So Fresh?

Published on: December 9, 2016

old-school-fair-lawn

Eddie Tisi keeps food fresh at his old-school Fair Lawn deli. Photo Credit : Eddie Tisi

FAIR LAWN, N.J. — Walk into Fair Lawn’s “A Family Affair Deli” and you’ll get just that — and lots more.

“Momma” Angela is up front at the register, Ed Sr. is working the books and Eddie Jr. is working everything in between.

The Tisi family opened its Broadway eatery in 1995 and hasn’t served anything but “the good stuff” ever since, said Eddie, a New York Restaurant School graduate.

Despite his passion for food, the Brooklyn native knew he’d never be able to run a restaurant if he planned on having a family.

He wanted to be able to see his son play baseball and watch his little girl grow up.

Cooking all night and missing out on family time didn’t appeal to him, but running a mom-and-pop Italian deli was both manageable and fun.

“I knew the food and I knew I had the vision,” said the Paramus Catholic graduate. “Twenty-one years later and we’re still here.”

And so are his customers… for the most part.

Tisi has been serving the same people since the day he opened. Sure, he’s lost some customers who have relocated, lost their jobs or passed on.

But for the most part, Tisi knows who he can expect to see, and they know what they’re going to get.

“Momma” Angela is up front at the register, Ed Sr. is working the books and Eddie Jr. is working everything in between.

The Tisi family opened its Broadway eatery in 1995 and hasn’t served anything but “the good stuff” ever since, said Eddie, a New York Restaurant School graduate.

Despite his passion for food, the Brooklyn native knew he’d never be able to run a restaurant if he planned on having a family.

He wanted to be able to see his son play baseball and watch his little girl grow up.

Cooking all night and missing out on family time didn’t appeal to him, but running a mom-and-pop Italian deli was both manageable and fun.

“I knew the food and I knew I had the vision,” said the Paramus Catholic graduate. “Twenty-one years later and we’re still here.”

And so are his customers… for the most part.

Tisi has been serving the same people since the day he opened. Sure, he’s lost some customers who have relocated, lost their jobs or passed on.

But for the most part, Tisi knows who he can expect to see, and they know what they’re going to get.

“Someone who came in 10 years ago will still get the Godfather. And the quality is still the same.”

He says he charges a little bit extra but his repeat customers know they’re getting their bang for their buck.

All of Tisi’s mozzarella is homemade. His mom makes the meatballs from scratch. Most ingredients come from Arthur Avenue and the extra-virgin olive oil hails from Sicily.

Tisi noticed an uptick in business about three years ago when he introduced a new menu item: The Soprano —ham capacola, imported prosciutto, extra-sharp provolone, jalapeno peppers and red wine vinegarette, served on a brick-oven hero.

Instagram sensation Matt Savage ( @inkaholic__ ) of Garfield came in last week and was blown away by it, he said.

“It was literally to die for,” said Savage, a HackensackUMC nurse. “The cherry peppers gave it some heat, which I love. He uses the thick-cut provolone cheese.”

“And the deli’s just a homey, Italian feel — warm and welcoming.”

Even his competitors — most who sell a different type of food — stop in for a sandwich regularly.

“We’re a dying breed,” Tisi said. “An old-school Italian deli. You don’t find ‘em, really.”

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Visit http://fairlawn.dailyvoice.com/business/how-does-an-old-school-fair-lawn-deli-stay-so-fresh/692489/ for the article

Tommyeats.com Reviews A Family Affair

Published on: May 29, 2013

A Family Affair may well be the best Italian deli in the Bergen county area. I’ve been to many, many delis, in search of a place that uses great bread and can put together a sandwich with a smile. Haven’t found one that can pull this off other than A Family Affair.

It’s a family affair indeed. It’s very likely the owner, Eddie, will be making your sandwich. And I think that’s his mom manning the register on some days. There are no grumpy old dudes, no jaded kids carelessly throwing some meat on some bread. Hell even the customers are really really nice.

This isn’t a deli where you’ll be getting homemade salumi, so get that out of your head (A&S Fine Foods in Wyckoff fills that niche, but doesn’t make a sandwich to my liking…too much bread). But if you’re looking for an Italian-style hero, something perhaps in the vein of Vito’s in Hoboken (the gold standard), you’ll be pleased with what you find here. What sets A Family Affair apart from A&S and Italian Riviera and Cosmo’s is the bread. My goodness the bread. The bread at A Family Affair is top-notch stuff. It comes from some place in Jersey City, and it tastes like it. This stuff is as good as the bread I used to get in Hoboken back in the day, from places like Antique and Marie’s.

But too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily good, and these guys get it. Your bread will be gutted without having to ask. You have to gut the bread, otherwise you have a terribly large and unbalanced sandwich. Vito knows this, and so does Eddie.

Get over to this small family run place. The tunafish with some hot peppers on a hero is spot on.

Visit http://www.tommyeats.com/tommyeats/2012/11/index.html for the article

Where Blood is Thicker than honey mustard (The NewYork Times).

Published on: November 26, 2012

How does a little deli in Fair Lawn supply lunch to workers at 40 businesses? The name of A Family Affair, in Fair Lawn, tells it all. It takes only three Tisis, plus a van and driver, to handle all the orders. ”The key is organization,” said Edward Tisi Jr., a graudate of the New York Restaurant School. ”I’ve been in places where 10 people don’t work as fast as we do.” Eds Jr. and Sr. arrive at 7 a.m., and Angela, Ed. Sr’s wife, comes in at 8:30. ”I have to give Mom a little break,” Ed Jr. said. In the process, the three createmore than tuna salad and B.L.T.’s. A recent menu featured as specials a tortilla wrap of pepper mill melted Harvarti dill cheese with saut-eed diced portobello mushrooms and Caesar dressing ($5.25) and cheese tortellini tossed with saut/’eed broccoli rape and Italian sausage ($5.95 a pound). Everyday fare includes a moist and tender grilled chicken cutlet with grilled eggplant, lettuce, tomato and honeymustard ($4.75); bow-tie pasta salad ($4.49 a pound); and tossed romaine salad with egg ($4.50), with tuna ($4.95) or grilled chicken ($5.25). Visitors to the sparkling white-tiled deli will find not only prepared food, but also homemade sauces and mozzarella and imported Italian products like Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and San Marana tomatoes. A Family Affair also caters events and meetings and prepares gift baskets.

Perphaps Angela Tisi has the key to understanding the efficiency of the threesome:”We all get along well but lunch hour comes we become a business, not a family.”

MARGO NASH – The New York Times