famiglia is forever
San Antonio Italian deli closing, leaving cultural preservation to the next generation
An Italian deli is a godsend anywhere, but in Texas these rarities should be cherished. San Antonio has enjoyed Fratello's Restaurant and Deli for 10 years of casual eats, but it's almost time for the eatery to close its doors on January 31.
Co-owners Bobby and Rozana Corbo; Tony and Marilyn Magaro; and Dan and Mary Martinelli created a replica of some of the things they missed as San Antonio's "Little Italy" waned; A release cites "familial spirit" as one of the founding principles. With the help of general manager Louis Lecocke, Fratello's became known as a strong sandwich and comfort food spot, made even better by welcoming staff.
The release includes a long statement of gratitude by the collective of owners and Lecocke.
"Fratello’s must be acclaimed and remembered as a labor of love that, for a period of just over 10 years, kept the local Italian culture alive beyond the old neighborhood and the Church and Hall that symbolize the struggles and joys of our Immigrant forefathers," it says.
This heritage was clear from looking around the room, which included family photos, basketball jerseys, Italian art, and a prominent display of meats and cheeses at the deli counter. Besides reading the menu, visitors could look into the glass cases and browse cookies, slices of cake, tiramisu, and pantry goods for sale.
"[Keeping our culture alive was] our charge, we took it seriously and did it in the best we could, but now, we have reached a time when we must move on and allow the natural course of our community's growth to take on that challenge," wrote the team. It also mentioned "benevolence to nonprofits and the archdiocese" as part of the restaurant's community responsibility.
"We are confident we succeeded in doing what we set out to accomplish while also being a pillar in our community. Unfortunately, age is catching up to all of us who help lead the restaurant, and with that in mind, we made the difficult decision to close," they concluded. "We thank you for believing in our goals. We will always cherish the memories of good food and good times at Fratello’s and hope you will, too."
Fratello's will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm through January 31, 2024. Gift cards will be honored through closing day. The team hopes customers stop by 2503 Broadway Street to say goodbye.