STAPLETON — A longtime Red Hook restaurant will bring its Italian sandwiches across the Verrazano Bridge this weekend.
Defonte's of Brooklyn will open its first Staten Island location in Stapleton at 95 Water St. on Saturday, after spending six months preparing the spot.
"It's an up-and-coming area — it reminded me a little bit of Red Hook many years ago before it got built up [as] it is now," said Nicholas Defonte, owner of the shop.
"Everybody kept asking, 'When you're going to open in Staten Island?' Now we're here."
The restaurant has served Italian sandwiches since 1922 in Red Hook, and opened up a Gramercy location in 2009. However, after a developer bought the building, the Manhattan location shuttered earlier this year.
Defonte said all the workers from the Manhattan location will go to work at the Staten Island shop, but it will feel more like the original location in Red Hook.
"The menu is going to be almost identical to Brooklyn," he said. "All the bread is coming from Brooklyn. Everything is exactly the same as the Brooklyn store."
Defonte said he has heard from many residents excited about the new location, including some who have been knocking on the door while the restaurant is under construction, trying to get a sandwich.
"One woman came in today and said, 'I used to come in the [Red Hook] store in the 1950s and now I live close by,'" Defonte said. "[She said] 'It's amazing, I can't wait to come in.'"