JoAnne’s Luncheonette, located at 461 Third Avenue on the corner of Loomis, in the Peterstown section of Elizabeth, opened as a lunch counter decades ago. The family has owned it at this location since 1980, where it has been passed down through the generations. Grandpa Joe DeMarco owned a bakery around the 50s in Jersey City so he was already familiar with the food industry. So, along with wife Nancy DeMarco, he made sure all four of their children knew how to cook and bake. The co-owner, also a relative, was named JoAnne . . . . hence the name of the business.
Current owners, sisters Marie Pasko and Phyllis Fernandez, and their husbands, have operated the business since 1986. Prior to that, Phyllis was also a cake decorator and taught classes to adults as a hobby.
JoAnne’s serves breakfast and lunch and customers can order take-home dinners, as well. They are well known for their specialty flavor pancakes. But if you are REALLY hungry, go with a “lumber jack” – a choice of pancakes or French toast served with eggs, homefries, bacon, sausage & toast & coffee or tea. There are always lunch specials. Definitely look for the cheese steak panini, Bev’s meatballs, and seasonal specialties like corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s face it . . . diner food, especially good, home-cooking diner food, is the BEST!!!!!
JoAnne’s also does catering and specialty cakes on order. And the cakes are amazing works of art! They have even made a fully edible standing R2D2 cake!. Check out their Facebook page for more photos of unbelievable cakes.
During the family’s long history in the neighborhood, they have been particularly involved in the community. They host the block watch for our neighborhood. Last Easter they catered ham dinners to the local power workers who had to work on Easter. The owners like that their community is one where you know the people. “In Peterstown, which is our community, you get a glimpse of the past . . . . nostalgia. Everyone remembers the past and the old neighborhood.”
And it’s true . . . . the many loyal customers go to JoAnne’s every bit as much for the commaraderie as for the food. Customers bring socks to add to Marie’s wacky sock collection. They bring her signs to adorn the walls. Customers have brought their children, and now those grown children bring THEIR children. Says Marie’s daughter, Denise, “We are a part of our customers’ lives. We are not just a luncheonette, we are a family. And when you walk through the door you become family too. A customer saw my father and I out one day and recognized him from the luncheonette. She said hello, and when she saw he didn’t immediately place her, she said ‘I’m turkey club with bacon.’ and he knew her right away.”
JoAnne’s Lunchoenette is on Facebook ( JoAnne’s Luncheonette), Twitter (@JoannesLunch), Instagram (@JoannesLuncheonette), and has a website at www.joannesluncheonette.com . Fans will be able to keep up to date on the daily homemade specials and other happenings. But the best way of all to keep up is to stop in, enjoy some of the fabulous homemade food, and the wonderful company!