I was going to write about my trip to Cleveland today, but once again the death of a deli has put the deli saving aside for a moment. Steve from Arizona has just sent me word that Katz’s of Phoenix (no relation to Katz’s in New York, Austin, or elsewhere) has closed.
From the Arizona Republic:
Katz’s Deli quietly closed last week after serving bagels, blintzes and corned beef hash in north central Phoenix for more than 30 years.
Craig DeMarco, owner of Postino Winecafe in the Arcadia section of east Phoenix, bought the 1977 deli last Friday. This week, he wasted no time in starting to convert the 1,000-square-foot restaurant at 5144 N Central Ave. into Postino Central.
DeMarco said the second Postino will also offer a large selection of wines and a menu featuring panini, bruschettas and salads. But DeMarco has hung on to the deli’s menu and plans to add some new deli-influenced menu items like pastrami panini “as a tip of the hat to Katz’s.”
He said he expects Postino Central to open by January.
Howard Welcher, who owned and ran the popular Katz’s since 1977, died in May at age 70. Family members listed the restaurant, which is on Central just north of Camelback Road, for sale.
Wanda Welcher of Phoenix, who ran Katz’s with her late husband and their daughter Michele Roberts, called the decision to close the legendary spot “extremely hard.”
“When my daughter locked the door for the last time she cried,” Wanda Welcher said.
But, Wanda Welcher said, she recently underwent treatment for cancer and keeping the deli going became impossible, especially because the aging building needed repairs.
Wanda Welcher said she would be pleased if Postino Central would put some Katz’s favorites on its menu.
“People would tell us they would wake up craving our ‘fire hash,’ ” a Katz’s specialty that blended corned beef hash, jalapenos and red peppers, she said.
Also popular were the deli’s ruben sandwiches with jalapenos, she said.