New owner ready to restore deli’s former popularity

The door remains ajar at the former B & H Water’s Edge Deli, as work begins inside with new owner Frank Wissler working to open Frank & Sons Deli and Grocery to the community. - Photo by Patrick Rocchio

With a contentious legal battle between the former leasee of a well-known local business and the Edgewater Park Owners Cooperative now resolved, a new operator is stepping up to breathe new life into the once popular deli spot.

Frank Wissler is planning to open another deli, Frank and Sons Deli and Grocery, likely on July 11, at the former B & H Water’s Edge Deli, at 2 Centre in his home of Edgewater Park.

“We have a new person from our community with a signed lease that will afford us the opportunity to have a new deli,” confirmed Keith Freder, president of the EPOC board. “We are committed as a board to providing the shareholders with the service they deserve.”

The former B & H Water’s Edge Deli finally shut their doors after a nearly yearlong legal battle partially vindicated their claim on the store they occupied for eight years. The previous owners fought for the right to “sell their store,” meaning the various fixtures within.

Last summer, the Edgewater Park Owners Cooperative told the former deli owners they would not renew their lease past the end of 2007. This prompted a legal battle that gave the previous occupants and long-time residents of Edgewater Park, a stay in the store through May.

Now, officially moved out, the new leasee, Wissler, is currently in the process of renovating the deli by installing a new floor, equipment, and reconfiguring of the establishment. This is Wissler’s first business.

“We just got the keys to the store last week,” Wissler noted. “My first job was working in a deli. I have been working in my friend’s deli for years as a second income.”

Wissler, a retired Verizon worker, will work with his family on the venture. As part of the improvements he is making, Wissler requested permission from the EPOC board to install picnic tables and a cloth awning outside of the shop.

“I am excited to be in business,” Wissler stated about his first entrepreneurial experience. “This is something that I have always wanted to do.”

 Now that the deli will once again be a place the community is proud of come July, the EPOC board hopes to make it clear they wish the previous owners all the best.

“The board on the whole doesn’t hold any ill will toward Betty Donato and David Haas – quite the contrary – we wish them well in their future endeavors,” Freder continued. “It just wasn’t a good representation of them as community members, or as a deli as a whole.”

Freder said since Donato and Hass are part of the Edgewater community, it complicated the purely business decision.

 “In retrospect, we could have handled some things differently,” Freder stated about the standoff with B&H. “It is now time to start fresh.”

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