The Fenton family says its pastrami business is the “furthest thing from traditional pastrami.”
Irving’s Pastrami called Woodbury home since 2018, and now owner Andrew Fenton, his son A.J., daughter Gianna and wife Gina are making the move to Farmingdale this summer.
The pastrami sandwich shop is not like the classic kosher delicatessen.
Andrew says they have made the idea of a pastrami sandwich into their own.
“I’ve had these recipes since I was a kid and made stuff for family barbeques like twice a year,” Andrew said. “My daughter was really like, let’s open a pastrami restaurant with those recipes and make all these crazy sandwiches for the younger generation.”
The full story starts with a young Andrew when he met a man named Irving, who he says “held a secret recipe for the best pastrami.”
The two formed a special bond and Irving entrusted his grandfather’s pastrami recipes to Andrew before his death.
Handing over a small lockbox, Andrew promised Irving he would share his pastrami with the world.
Today, the sandwiches have completely evolved and as their slogan states, Irving’s Pastrami is “changing the pastrami game.”
What makes Irving’s Pastrami unique is both their sandwich creations and cooking process.
Pastrami traditionalists usually steam the meat at a low temperature and have it sit for hours, sometimes even a full day, and then slice to serve, Andrew said.
His team makes everything to order and hits the meat with an incredibly high temperature of steam so it’s not sitting for a long time, which he says makes a difference in taste.
The Angry Irving is the signature sandwich, which is hot pastrami with provolone, chopped onions, pepperoncini, horseradish mustard, mayo & cracked black pepper on a club.
“People drive from Queens, Brooklyn, all over to get that sandwich,” Andrew said.
A biker came into the store one day and created his own sandwich, Andrew recalls, and it’s now permanently on the menu as the “Zeus,” which is hot pastrami with cheese sauce and garlic butter on a club (add hot cherry peppers for a kick).
Homemade fries and onion rings are on the menu too, as well as what Andrew deems “the best milkshake on Long Island” for $6.95.
When looking for a new location to introduce their unique sammies, Andrew said he wanted to find a place in Suffolk County.
Farmingdale ended up being the ideal place and Andrew thought the then-empty storefront at 180 Merritts Road had potential on the busy street.
On July 26, the Fenton family closed their Woodbury location and are aiming to debut in Farmingdale sometime this month.
They plan on building a backyard courtyard for customers to eat, but the shop will be takeout only.
A significant shift from the old location is the price point of the sandwiches, which is now lowered from $15 to $9.95 for all sandwiches.
On the side of the building, in the parking lot, is a huge mural created by local artist Arlene Mcloughlin, who Gianna recruited to create something that would “pop for the younger generation,” Andrew says.
Follow Irving’s Pastrami on Instagram, Facebook and visit their new website for more information.
Top: A.J. Fenton and Andrew Fenton outside of the mural of the new Irving’s Pastrami in Farmingdale.