This site was made to chronicle and fight the death of Jewish delicatessens. As such, I get a lot of information about delis closing, which always saddens me. However, on occasion I receive notice of the birth of a deli, as was the case this weekend.
On Saturday I received an email from Nick Zurkin of Portland, Oregon, who went on to tell me about the deli he will soon be opening. I’ll leave the story and photos up to Nick:
A local chef and I here in Portland, OR, started curing and smoking out own pastrami last year and selling it at a farmers market. We were selling out in an hour. When Bourdain was in town, he tried it and really liked it.
We decided to extend the menu and do a one day a week brunch at my partner’s restaurant. We focused on pastrami, later also doing corned beef and pickled tongue. We made half-sours, full-sours, and pickled green tomatoes. We made knishes, rugelach. We made chopped liver, bagels, egg creams (no, not a kosher deli), etc, etc. We became very popular and had very good press.
Anyway, we got the investors together and are building a restaurant in downtown Portland to be finished in September serving three meals a day with a very full menu, bagels made in-house, pastrami and corned beef made in-house, etc. The name is Kenny & Zuke’s.
The deli is set to open at the start of October, in the Ace Hotel, at the corner of SW 11th and Stark. Both Nick Zukin and his partner Ken Gordon have decades of national and international experience in cuisine and foodservice, and if you read the reviews of their farmer’s market deli meals, the stuff is good. They want it to be fresh, from scratch, and treated as little as possible. This looks like the perfect nexus of new school fresh thinking and old school deli. The Pacific Northwest has never been a haven for deli, but with salmon that good and fresh, and with the great beef coming out of Washington state, you know it’s time for the West coast to get its share of shmaltz. Here’s wishing them the best of luck. We’ll keep our ears to the grindstone on this one.
Their website isn’t much now, but this is where to go come October.
Here’s some reviews of what’s in store: