Save the Deli

A Mad Launch at Ben’s (aka: Jelvis Has Left the Building)

photo courtesy of Jason Perlow


Oh what a crazy night. First off, just a quick reminder that the Canadian edition of the book came out today. So go hit up your bookstores Canucks, and get your copies today.

Now back to Ben’s. It was billed as a celebration of deli culture, but we forgot to add the terms “stampeding crowds”, “raging mobs”, and “unreasonable amounts of linked meats”. What can I say, it was a glorious shitshow that was hailed by one party blogger (who I randomly met) as “The Best Book Party I’ve Ever Seen”. People arrived early, clamored for tables, and started eating and drinking. Hundreds arrived within a short period of time. The line for the buffet snaked all around the deli. Someone estimated over 400 people coming and going throughout the night.

With the frenzied mobs salivating for the pastrami sliced by Ben’s mentchadik owner Ronnie Dragoon, Jelvis, the Jewish Elvis, started the entertainment with songs like “My Little Shiksa” and “Heartburn Hotel”.

Comedic legend Freddie Roman got up and introduced me with a classic joke about a waiter, a customer, and a bowl of soup (punchline: Ah Ha!). I said a few words, whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and then Jelvis came back.

Suddenly books were flying at me in all directions as I scribbled gibberish in slashes of Sharpie. Then the good folks at the Universal Record Database took over and started the record setting. I actually missed the best records, which I’m pissed at, but hey, I had to sign books. Thanks to Lamster, Brad, Nick, and the URDB crew for that. We capped it off with a record setting chain of deli owners and deli lovers linked by 45 feet of kosher salamis.

Then I read a bit, signed some books, and Jelvis closed down the night. The Ben’s folks literally kicked us out and people were still showing up at 10pm as they locked the doors, including latecomer, but helluva guy AJ Jacobs.

I just want to thank Ronnie Dragoon, Hal Simon, Scott Singer, Todd Silverstein (and his kids!) from Ben’s for putting this together and hosting and feeding the hoards. I want to thank Freddie Roman for opening it up with class, and Jelvis for holding it together with grace and humor. I want to thank everyone from the URDB and the record setters for making it a world record night, and I want to thank everyone who came out from as far as London, Toronto, and yes, even Detroit. Si and Sy…you know who I’m talking about.

2 Responses to “A Mad Launch at Ben’s (aka: Jelvis Has Left the Building)”

  1. Scott Singer Says:

    For those who missed the fun, I just wanted to post a link for a coupon that may be used to sample some of our wonderful NY deli fare. It si usually just for students, but if you print the coupon and write DAVID SAX on the front, that will make it valid withourt a student ID. here’s the link:

    Thanks to all!

  2. Lea Says:

    hiya, your websites are really great. I do thank you for operate

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