Save the Deli

A bit of naches and love on V-Day

Denver, Colorado

A nice item came in today from NY deli lover and journalist Steve Viuker.

One is a story he wrote in the New York Post during December, which sums up quickly the deli scene in New York:

Genuinely deli-cious

The Jewish deli is still a city stalwart

FORK out $200 for dinner? $15 deserts? Tasting menus? Bah.

“Give me a Reuben at the Second Avenue Deli any time,” said hockey and deli maven Stan Fischler.

“My first deli was S & L on Marcy and DeKalb in Willamsburg,” he recalled.

With the demise of the Second Avenue Deli, a long-time New York tradition may be fading. Or not.

The Carnegie (854 Seventh Avenue at 55th Street) lives up to the press clippings,” said long-time New York public relations guru, David Grant. “I think Woody Allen summed up the place perfectly — very little in the way of atmosphere, surly waiters but great food.”

Andrew Pittel, an independent broker who does food retail, reckons “Location is very important but also whether a deli owns or rents space.” (It is believed both Katz’s and the Carnegie own their building sites.)

“I did the deal that re-located Pastrami Queen from Lexington and 86th Street where a new a development was going up, to its present location at 1125 Lexington at 78th Street,” he said.

Changing tastes, diet and a changing demographic have all had an impact on the Jewish deli. But you still have people who grew up on this food and still enjoy it.

The boros can still hold their own. Queens has Ben’s Best, located at 96-40 Queens Boulevard in Rego Park for over 50 years.

Liebman’s Delicatessen at 552 W 235th Street has been a Riverdale, Bronx landmark since 1953, and they still make their own pastrami.

Staten Island Mall has Ray’s, while the Mill Basin Kosher Deli and Fine Art Gallery at 5823 Ave T in Brooklyn exhibits a collection of original works by Erté to view as you chow down.”

—All of those are great places, and well worth checking out. Steve’s a big fan of the site, and of deli in general, so I owe him a knish or two when I get back to the Big Apple.

Happy V-Day.


4 Responses to “A bit of naches and love on V-Day”

  1. Mark Effron Says:

    I don’t see how Stan ever got a Reuben at the Second Avenue Deli, since a Reuben is usually made with cheese and meat and the Second Avenue Deli was kosher.

  2. Steve Viuker Says:

    I am working 24/7 to find out what Stan Fischler really ate at the Second Avenue Deli.

    And that should read “Fork out”;not Pork out in the opening paragraph.

  3. Steve Viuker Says:

    As promised, I did speak to Stan Fischler about that Reuben at the Second Avenue Deli. “It might have been at a place called Fine and Shapiro; on the Upper West Side,” said the Deli and Hockey maven.”

    And I found this bit of ‘meaty’ history-
    Patricia B. Taylor, daughter of Arnold Reuben (1883-1970), the founder of Reuben’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, remembers that her father made the first Reuben Sandwich in 1914. She described the incident to Crag Claiborne of the New York Times in his book called Craig Claibornes – The New York Times Food Encyclopedia:

    The year was 1914. Late one evening a leading lady of actor Charlie Chaplin came into the restaurant and said, ‘Reuben, make me a sandwich, make it a combination, I’m so hungry I could eat a brick.’ He took a loaf of rye bread, cut two slices on the bias and stacked one piece with sliced Virginia ham, roast turkey, and imported Swiss cheese, topped off with coleslaw and lots of Reuben’s special Russian dressing and the second slice of bread. He served it to the lady who said, ‘Gee, Reuben, this is the best sandwich I ever ate, you ought to call it an Annette Seelos Special.’ To which he replied, ‘Like hell I will, I’ll call it a Reuben’s Special.’

  4. çelik raf Says:

    Hm, is it the TV cameras or the nosh that’s making you fat? Just kidding, you look great.

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