RED HOOK - Defonte's Sandwich Shop is so well known in Red Hook that residents are pushing for the city to rename a street after its late owner.

The Columbia Avenue shop has been serving up sandwiches for almost a century. The second-generation owner, Daniel Defonte, died in October. 

His family and a former employee are spearheading the push to have the street co-named in his honor. They've collected 600 signatures on a petition they plan to present at this month's community board meeting.

Defonte ran the shop until he was 72 years old.

Nicholas Defonte, who now runs the shop, says the older Defonte was known for being charitable.

"If people didn't have any money, he'd give them a sandwich," the current owner says. "Nobody walked out of here hungry."

Angel Conde, a onetime employee who still returns to the shop as a customer, says there are other streets around the city co-named after people for more trivial reasons.

"There's other people that's done nothing for the community," Conde says. "Not to bash them, but they have streets named after them -- and I mean, why not?"