Save the Deli

50 Years of Bronx sandwiches for Loeser’s Deli

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Here’s starting off the year right: Half a century ago, way up in the northwest corner of the Bronx, called Riverdale, a young man of just 17 named Fredy Loeser used some of his bar mitzvah savings to open up a kosher delicatessen. Back then, there were still hundreds of Jewish delis all over the Bronx, and thousands around New York City, and Loeser’s was jumping into a crowded field. What happened to the Bronx since then is the stuff of urban studies legends: Robert Moses put in the Cross Bronx Expressway, the middle class fled to the suburbs, gangs took over, slums grew, fired blazed, and the Bronx burned.

Today, Loeser’s Kosher Delicatessen is one of two Jewish delis left standing in the Bronx (the other is Liebman’s, nearby). So it’s with great pride, and a sense of mazel, that I write today about the milestone Fredy Loeser has achieved. Half a century in any business is admirable. Five decades in the Jewish deli business, in a time when delis are still endangered, is incredible. But fifty years as a kosher delicatessen in the Bronx is an absolute miracle.

All of this is due to the tireless work of Fredy Loeser, one of the last counterman/owners in New York’s Jewish deli business. Fredy is not the type of guy to mince words. He’s a tough SOB, who has fought hard to keep Loeser’s in business. Here’s what I wrote about meeting Fredy for the first time in Save the Deli:

Loeser’s was a relic so well preserved you could suffocate in atmosphere. There were faded family photos, old signs, clippings of political events, and handwritten notes from customers push-pinned to the wall.

“I’m a natural, a switch hitter,” Loeser told me, glaring into my eyes to make sure I heard every word. “I got the best pastrami in New York, the best brisket, the best soup, the best everything.” He had the talk, the look, and the swagger of the consummate Deli Man—a creature disappearing with the deli itself, despite the self-assuredness of their own skills. And when he was done talking with me, he simply said, “Thanks for visiting,” and turned his back. As much as it should have offended me, I was delighted.

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Last year, I went back to Loeser’s and found Fredy behind the counter, as always. He was talking with regulars, pushing his deliciously spiced pastrami, and building towering sandwiches for customers that have known him since they were kids. In a world of so called sandwich experts and armchair deli mavens (I’m including myself here), Fredy Loeser is the real deal. He’s a deli man, through and through, and it gives me much pride and joy to wish him, Loeser’s Delicatessen, and all the great deli lovers of Da Bronx, a happy birthday.

Celebrations will be held this Saturday, January 8th, at 12.30 pm. Head on up to the Bronx and check it out.

214 West 231st Street
Bronx, NY
718-548-9735 ?


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11 Responses to “50 Years of Bronx sandwiches for Loeser’s Deli”

  1. ellie Says:

    Hi Fredy,
    I miss the good old jewish deli’s from the Bronx. Here in Naples Florida they don’t have
    jewish deli’s. Miss the brisket of beef which
    rarely do you find in any restaurant. Pastrami
    you can get but brisket of beef a rarity. Glad
    to see you are holding your own and continuing
    the deli business. We need you here in Naples
    florida on the west coast. They don’t even know
    what a biali is and good old potato pancakes is
    also an unknown.

  2. Jerald Goldman Says:

    Mazel Tov! I need to stop in next time I’m coming to NYC.
    Being a Brooklyn Boy, I remember the discussions about who had the best “stuff”… the Avenue D deli or George and Sid’s. There was always a neighborhood Deli to grab a quick frank!

  3. Empire State Deli, West Palm Beach Says:

    I used to drive my Grandmother to get her hair done and she always sent me into Loesers to get her lunch while she baked under the dryer at the Beauty shop.
    Now I wait on the grand kids doing the same as I did.

    Congrats and thanks for the Memories!!

  4. Aaron Levy Says:

    Mazol Tov on the 50 years of providing Kosher Jewish Eats..
    I will come in soon.
    Here’s to many more years in business. The Kosher Deli should continue well into the future!!!!

  5. Elinor Says:

    We need a Kosher Deli in New Jersey. Somerset is a new community in Jersey. Our retirement homes have almost 100% Jewish old timers 60 and up searching for a real Kosher Deli, none to be found, please open up in New Brunswick, or Somerset, and you will be so very succesful it is guaranteed. I asked Bens in Woodbury NY, but they never answered. Please we need you.

  6. Joe Says:

    I love Fredy’s place. I only went in after seeing Yahoo and Daily News articles on it. I hope he sticks around for another 50 years. He makes all his customers feel valued and always gives you more than you ask for. When I go in to get my lunches for work, he always throws in extra bread pickles and cole slaw (which is almost as good as his pastrami!) Hang tough Fredy!

  7. Roofing Contractor Bronx Says:

    very nice post, i certainly love http://www.savethedeli.com, keep on it !!!!!

  8. Nimisha Mahabir Says:

    nice y0u hit it 0n the dot will submit to twitter

  9. Ryksa Says:

    Lover, this fabulous website is usually fabolous, i love it

  10. Michael Loeser Says:

    Could I get a couple of Loeser’s deli T shirts for my sons for Hanukah?

    Alex small adult and Andy Large adult

  11. Susan behling Says:

    Does anyone remember a deli with one owner named Joe Schaffer?

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