State Senator Matt Dolan Newsletter
Every quarter we profile a local business in our Northeast Ohio community.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting down with Joe and Jeanette Kanaan, owners of Joe’s Deli.
Located on Hilliard Boulevard in Rocky River, Joe’s Deli has become somewhat of an institution in the Cleveland area, having served American and Lebanese style dishes for nearly 25 years.
The deli now has over 60 employees, many of whom have been with them a long time.
“Our chef has been with us for 25 years, and several others have been with us for over 20 years,” Jeanette says.
Joe attributes his employees’ longevity to the relationship he and his wife have with them.
“I believe you should treat them as your friends, not your employees,” he said.
Joe originally started off as a plumber before getting into the restaurant business.
“It still comes in handy,” he says, referring to his plumbing background. “If we have water issues at the restaurant, I can fix them myself.”
Joe’s story very much epitomizes the American story, one of an immigrant who came to this country years ago to pursue a dream and raise a family.
The youngest of 8 children, Joe left Lebanon in 1968 at age 20, with only $300 in his pocket. After spending a few years in Australia as a plumber, Joe’s life changed on a visit to America. There he met his wife, Jeanette, and soon after found himself in the restaurant business.
By his own admission, Joe knew nothing about the restaurant business when he started. Jeannette, however, already had several years of experience in the industry – her family founded another Cleveland institution, Slyman’s.
Originally starting off as Joe’s Coffee Shop in the Buckeye Building downtown, they moved to Rocky River in 1994, and have been serving their extensive menu – all made from scratch – ever since.
“Rocky River is a wonderful community to live, work and raise your children,” Jeanette said.