Save the Deli

Who Wants to Sell My Book?

Friday, January 30th, 2009

As many or most of you know, my book, Save the Deli, which is like this blog only more papery and awesome, will be published this October by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US) and McClelland and Stewart (Canada). It will be sold in wide release at major and independent bookstores, and over the webbernet.

But where I’d really like to see it sold is over the counter of Jewish delicatessens everywhere. This book is about delis, first and foremost, and it makes sense that they should be available right in the places I’m writing about. So consider this a call to all you delis out there. If you’re interested in stocking copies of Save the Deli (which you can sell for a percentage of the profits), please let me know. If you’d like to host an event in your community, have a reading, or do a Save the Deli themed night in the fall and winter, please also let me know. (more…)

Noshville Katz

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Ok, I’ll admit it, the posting’s been a bit dreary lately with all the talk of closings, deaths, and the like. Here’s a little pick me up. No need to explain this beauty:


Coleman’s May be Closed

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Was in Toronto last weekend and heard some grim news. Coleman’s Deli, a North Toronto institutions for many many decades, is apparently closed. I heard from several sources in the industry, my calls to the deli went unanswered, and someone spotted a “Thanks for Your Patronage” sign on the door. Not good.

Apparently they’ve stopped taking deliveries of bread of Silverstein’s (the ultimate barometer of deli health), and with the economy as it is, this isn’t so much a surprise as a shock. Still, Coleman’s was beloved by many (more on that below), and Toronto is really losing an institution of deli eating. (more…)

The End of a Chicago Tradition

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

As I mentioned a few weeks back, this week will see the end of several great Chicago kosher deli brands (Best’s Kosher, Wilno, Sinai, and Shofar) by the parent corporation Sara Lee.

There’s a great article in today’s Chicago Tribune about the end of this legacy, penned by Susan Berger, whose family owned Oscherwitz Kosher until they sold it to Sara Lee.

Hot dogs. Corned beef. Tongue. Pastrami. Bologna. By the end of the month, the company that my great-grandfather Isaac Oscherwitz started in 1886 will close. Best’s Kosher Sausage Co., was family owned for more than 100 years. In 1993, Sara Lee Corp. acquired Best’s Kosher. Mike Cummins, a Sara Lee spokesperson, said of the closing: “It was not because it’s not profitableóit’s just not where it needs to be.” (more…)

Year of the Pickle

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Gun Hey Fah Choi!

That’s Shana Tova to all our Chinese brothers out there, those who complete the other half of our dietary existence. It’s the year of the Ox, which makes me wonder why Jewish years never really have their own animal or symbol…

Well, apparently that problem’s now been solved by a company named Jewzo, for the Jewish Zodiac. They’ve assigned each astrological year a corresponding Jewish food, which is just fine by me. (more…)

A Tribute to Eiran Harris

Monday, January 19th, 2009

My occasional tributes on this site are to deli men, those who make, cook, and serve delicatessen foods because of a love for the tradition, the flavor, and the people who inhabit that world. Today I’d like to make a tribute to a fellow deli lover and researcher such as myself. I’d like to pay tribute to Eiran Harris.

Soups in NY, Briskets in Birmingham

Friday, January 16th, 2009

I’m doing a 2-4-1 today, because it’s almost the weekend and I’m lazy.

First I want to tell you about a great event that’s taking place next weekend here in New York.
The hip downtown synagogue The New Shul is hosting their annual Golden Schmaltz awards, which has included the Battle of the Briskets in the past. This year, keeping in touch with sporting events, they’re doing the Souper Bowl. Get it?
Contestants will enter their best Jewish soups in two categories: chicken and other. They’ll be judged by four celebrity judges, including Sharon Lebewohl, kosher caterer, educator, and part of the 2nd Ave Deli dynasty. Tickets are $50 for adults, and proceeds go to the New Shul.

Sunday, 1.25, 3:30-5:30pm
Village Restaurant
62 W 9th St.

Secondly, my good friend Sy Ginsberg told me about a deli he’s helping to open in Birmingham, Alabama. Yes friends, the sweet heart of the deep south is going to get a genuine Jewish delicatessen. Max’s Deli promises to be the real deal. It’s linked to the Jewish community, and will host a grand opening dinner to benefit the Birmingham Chapter of Hadassah on the 22nd. If you’re a hungry Jew living in the deli-deprived South, then head over to Birmingham and nosh away at Max’s. Love the graphics.

3431 COLONNADE PARKWAY, Birmingham, Alabama

Mill Basin Kosher Deli

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Well over two years ago, I was touring around Brooklyn with official borough historian Ron Schweiger, a real mensch of a guy. We were trying to cover the history of Brooklyn’s delicatessen scene, which, considering it once held more Jews than Tel Aviv, is saying something. Brooklyn’s a massive place, yet Ron, myself, and my friend Chris Farber managed to touch many of its corners, while Schweiger regaled us with tales of deli greatness, including the long lost Grabstein’s.

We stopped in at several delis that day, ate at a few, but one we didn’t was the Mill Basin Kosher Delicatessen. I swore I’d go back, and thankfully yesterday the chance presented itself. (more…)

A 2nd 2nd Ave Deli. For real this time.

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Last year there was a rumor floating around that a 2nd 2nd Ave Deli was set to open. It turned out to be false, just some errant information and hope when Jeremy Lebewohl and Co. opened their comissary.

But now there’s fresh rumors, coming from multiple sources, and they’re too convincing to ignore. (more…)

Death of Chicago’s Deli Meat Dynasty

Thursday, January 8th, 2009


Nothing slashes the hearts of deli lovers more than the death of a deli. It robs us of our cherished memories, of our identity, of our past, and ultimately of our future. Short of the loss of loved ones and pets, it’s the ultimate heartbreak.

Well, brace yourself friends, because we’re about to witness something devastating. On January 30th, the Sara Lee Corporation will end production of all kosher deli products in its Chicago factory. That means no more Bestís Kosher,
Sinai Kosher, Shofar and Wilno products. No more corned beef, salamis, pastramis, and other meats from four of the best known deli brands in the Midwest. (more…)

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