Save the Deli

Save the Deli Seattle correspondent report: I Love New York Deli

I wish I could get to every single deli in the world, I truly do, but geography, time, and sweet moolah prevent me from doing so. Yet, in the past year, since launching Save the Deli, I’ve heard from hundreds of deli fans around the world, who share with me their recommendations, tips, images, and stories (plus the occasional kvetch), about the deli world. I have to say that without your help, I’d know a hell of a lot less.

And so it was with David Cowles, a Washington state deli fan who has an obvious passion for this food, but for years has been bemoaning the lack of true deli in the Pacific Northwest. After all, the wet, cool climate is salmon country, and is almost as far from LA as it is from Chicago. It’s the last deli frontier in America, and the last place many would go looking for anything on rye…let alone rye!

But recently, David’s wishes have been fulfilled with the arrival of the small I Love New York Deli, in the famous Pike Place market in Seattle (where they huck the fish through the air). He’s sent me a review and photos, so without further delay, here’s a look at what Seattle can now offer. Take it away David:

by David Cowles

Pike Place Market is a nine-acre, 100-year-old farmersí market style operation near the Seattle waterfront. Itís an extremely popular tourist attraction filled with handicrafts, floral arrangements, and souvenirs. Itís also a place where locals shop for the highest quality and widest variety of seafood, meats, produce, and hard-to-find comestibles.

Jon Jacobs has done an amazing job in a minuscule 105-square-foot stall near the main entrance to Pike Place market. His I Love New York Deli (which opened in November of 2007) is squeezed in between a booth that sells Lebanese-style whipped garlic and one that fries miniature donuts while you wait; and heís within earshot of the Pike Place Fish Market, where fishmongers toss huge freshly-caught salmon back and forth to entertain customers.

Jonówho grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn but has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1977óhad long agonized over the dearth of deli food in Seattle. For the past twelve years he dreamed of owning a New York-style Jewish delicatessen, even though heíd never even worked in one. No matter. Jonís love and knowledge of deli food shines through and more than makes up for any lack of behind-the-counter experience.

I Love New York Deli is strictly a to-go operation, but thereís a small space nearby with stools and counters where you can sit down and more or less relax to enjoy your sandwich.

Jacobs carries no appetizing, but you can get just about any kind of overstuffed deli sandwich you want: corned beef, pastrami, beef brisket, turkey breast, pickled tongue, roast beef, chopped liver, Kosher salami, and, of course, Reubens.

He brings in most of the meats from East Coast purveyors. A local bakery bakes two types of rye bread especially for him. Jacobs makes the chopped liver himself on the premises, as well as real matzo ball soup, potato salad, cole slaw, and a wide variety of knishes, both sweet and savory. Remember, he does all of the buying, cooking, slices the meat, builds sandwiches, runs the cash register, and schmoozes with customers in a space about 10 x 10 feet, with just one helper!

I Love New York Deli may not be a full-service sit-down delicatessen, but itís the best deli food currently available in the entire state of Washington.

Jon Jacobs has great ambitions. He wants to open a real sit-down deli in the near future. I wish him well, and look forward to being one of his first customers. In the meantime, Iíll stop in for a nosh whenever Iím at Pike Place Market.

If you want to be a Save the Deli correspondent, just let me know about a deli in your area. I can always use more info from local eyes and ears.

I Love New York Deli
(206) 381-3354
93 Pike Street #4
Seattle, WA 98101

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14 Responses to “Save the Deli Seattle correspondent report: I Love New York Deli”

  1. Stu Shiffman Says:

    Yeeha! Since I live in the Greenwood district of Seattle (and haven’t had a proper pastrami or tongue sandwich in years), I’ll need to check this out.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Love, Love, Love the I Love New York Deli!!!

  3. Charles Says:

    This is great – I have been hunger for a good New York Deli Tongue Sandwich. I am planning on making a trip soon :)

  4. Owen Says:

    Check out Goldberg’s Famous Delicatesen in

  5. Stu Shiffman Says:

    We finally went to I Love Deli in the Pike Place Market on Saturday (I know, what bums we are). Mr. Jacobs was not there, but a young couple were hustling in the tiny working space. While serving the older gentleman ahead of me (I’m 55, so I would estimate him at 70), they were still friendly with us. He got what looked like two whole whitefish, 5(?) lbs of pastrami and a whole rye bread. Meanwhile, the line grew behind us.

    I ordered the pastrami on marble rye with a Diet Dr. Brown Black Cherry. My sweetie got a half whitefish salad and a cup of matzoh ball soup. While we waited, the young fellow gave me the pastrami end. Wow! I’d never had one of those before — it was great! The food was amazing, real Jewish soul food and I was ready to go back again.

  6. Stu Shiffman Says:

    They have a website now:

  7. Patrick Hirayama Says:

    They’ve also opened a sit-down restaurant in the University District — 5200 Roosevelt Wy NE — a bit northwest of the University of Washington.

  8. Hortencia Dercole Says:

    Fantastic posting and really will help with learning the article better.

  9. James Walley Says:

    And they’ve also purchased the defunct Big Apple Deli in Maple Valley (where Jacobs lives) and reopened it with his signature menu. I understand they’ll be renaming it to match their other two branches soon. I’m still awestruck that some of the best kosher-style deli is available just a few miles away from my home deep in southeast King County. The Reubens are great, but try out the Empire State, too — brisket, cheddar, caramelized onions, and horseradish on marble rye. Wonderful!

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