NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed?

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Tony Bad
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2006/01/05 15:16:21 (permalink)

NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed?



http://1010wins.com/topstories/local_story_005065032.html/#

Jan 5, 2006 6:44 am US/Eastern
(1010 WINS) (NEW YORK) One of the most famous delis in New York City may have served its last corned beef on rye.

The owner of the 2nd Avenue Deli said he closed the restaurant Sunday after a lease dispute with the building's new owners.

"My current rent is $24,000 a month for 2,800 square feet,'' Jack Lebewohl told The New York Times. "They want $33,000. I can't afford that.''

Jonis Realty of Great Neck, N.Y., owns the building. The Times said messages left with representatives of Jonis Realty were not returned.

The deli has been a landmark in the Lower East Side ever since it opened in 1954, serving much-loved Jewish fare like chopped liver, potato kugel and hefty corned beef sandwiches.

Lebewohl said the restaurant needs to undergo major renovations to pass Board of Health regulations. Lebewohl said he couldn't justify the added investment without a more affordable long-term lease.

Lebewohl, 57, said he wants to reopen but can't without a new lease agreement.

His brother, Abe, a Holocaust survivor who founded the restaurant, was shot and killed while attempting to make a bank deposit in 1996.

"My goal is to reopen,'' he told the paper. "We've become a destination.''
#1

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    Scallion1
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/01/05 15:23:38 (permalink)
    Ah, Tony B, you beat me to the punch.

    This can't be the whole story. Granted, 33K is a lot to pay for a month's rent, but the place is a mint. I'd be willing to make a substantial wager that the net income from take-out during the High Holidays, to say nothing of Passover, would cover their rent for a year.

    So does this mean that I can stop fighting with the Katz's partisans about who has the better pastrami and corned beef?

    Sic transit gloria matzoh balls.
    #2
    signman
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/01/05 15:40:45 (permalink)
    Tony, Thanks for the heads up on this. My sister in law from Texas is bringing a bunch of high schoolers to NYC next week and they planned to eat there.
    #3
    BT
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/01/08 14:04:57 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Scallion1

    Ah, Tony B, you beat me to the punch.

    This can't be the whole story. Granted, 33K is a lot to pay for a month's rent, but the place is a mint. I'd be willing to make a substantial wager that the net income from take-out during the High Holidays, to say nothing of Passover, would cover their rent for a year.

    So does this mean that I can stop fighting with the Katz's partisans about who has the better pastrami and corned beef?

    Sic transit gloria matzoh balls.


    According to the NY Times and AM New York (which I read avidly over lunch at Katz's) the Health Department is demanding a number of upgrades which the owner says he can't afford to do while also paying the level of rent being demanded. So you are right that it isn't just the rent--it's also major renovations required to avoid the wrath of the DPH.
    #4
    Scallion1
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/01/08 19:25:43 (permalink)
    This surprises me. The whole place was renovated, and I think it was within the last six or seven years. As I recall, they brought in David Rockwell to do the design. It seems incredible that they wouldn't have brought the back of the house up to snuff at the same time.

    Further, I'd love to know what the Health boys want that's so expensive. In my experience, the only renovation that's absolutely punishing has nothing to do with the Health Dept. The problem occurs if you run afoul of the ADA. Making a place handicapped-compliant can be a nightmare, and you'll run into this situation if you make renovations that trigger certain new criteria. Again, it's hard for me to imagine that Rockwell didn't see this coming.

    Nothing else in a restaurant is so expensive. A new dish machine, new compressors, upgraded Ansul system, none of these should even approach five figures. And as I said, from my observations, and I live 12 blocks away and have been eating there for ages, it's a huge cash cow.

    I still don't think we've gotten the entire megillah.
    #5
    Scallion1
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/01/08 19:28:20 (permalink)
    One further, and admittedly off-the-cuff observation. Real estate guys I've spoken to say that many Starbucks pay absolutely astronomical rents, and I can't see any way that a Starbucks can do the business that the deli can. And the size is totally deceptive, almost irrelevant, if you factor in the take-out and delivery business they do.
    #6
    mr chips
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/01/09 02:49:42 (permalink)
    I'm sorry to see the place go .
    #7
    ScreenBear
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/01/09 09:13:48 (permalink)
    I don't think this is the death knell. Either they'll negotiate, or the proprietor will find another place. My friend says he thinks they'll settle at around 30K. The thing is, I don't think we'll ever know the true details of what goes down.

    As I said on another post, I was curious that after all these years they hadn't bought the building. But then, the building, financially speaking, is a better deal as real estate than as retail. If you owned it, why would you do anything but rent it?

    In any case, I'm sure he can find cheaper rent, and not that far away. What the ins and outs of this would be, financially, is another story.

    Another consideration is what the owner wants to do. If I'm not mistaken, he's a lawyer, and wasn't really into the business. It was his brother's, who was killed a few years back in a robbery.

    The brother just took it over because it was such a cherished destination, and in memory of his brother, who was so devoted to the place.

    They have the best chopped liver I've ever had in a restaurant. The pastrami, while very, very good, isn't piled quite as high as is the style over here in Jersey at Harold's, but quality-wise it is superb.

    The corned beef was judged the best by R.W. Apple of The New York Times, former political columnist turned peripatetic food aficionado.

    The Bear
    #8
    pmrkr2
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/01/09 10:07:30 (permalink)
    personally i think this is a play by the resturants's owner to negotiate in public to win public sympathy and pressure the landlord. in one article i read in the ny times it said that the owner of the resturant knew of the current increases when he renegotiated the lease a few years back. and by the way it's not a new lease as they seem to make you think it's just the increases that are common in a long term commerical leas, that the resturant owner was well aware of. the resturant owner is trying to make it sound like the new builiding owner is putting undue pressure on him. and i stress new owner of the building (who just took over a lease that had been previously negotiated). also the resturant's owner was a real estate lawyer before he took over the resturant when his brother was murdered. i love the 2nd avenue deli but with the prices they charge and the crowds that fill the place this is one cry of landlord avarice that sounds a little fishy to me.
    #9
    Pigiron
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/07/31 10:35:29 (permalink)
    Any hopes of the 2nd Avenue Deli re-opening are now officially dashed:
    Second Avenue Deli to Serve 'Cash'

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The Second Avenue Deli's next take-out will be cash. The building that once housed the famed East Village deli is becoming a Chase bank branch.

    According to the New York Post, Chase signed a lease for the property as well as a newsstand next door. The Post quotes a real estate broker as being involved in the deal, which was finalized Wednesday.

    The deli closed its doors in January following a rent dispute.
    #10
    Fred Ferris
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/07/31 12:02:35 (permalink)
    Very, very sad indeed....
    #11
    cornfed
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 04:18:42 (permalink)
    A sign to move out of NY if there ever was one. Although you did need a bank close by to withdraw enough money from when you ate at 2nd Ave. Are there any good delis with a complete menu that aren't touristy left in Manhattan or Brooklyn? I would say not really. You can find better NY delis outside of NY.
    #12
    Fred Ferris
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 12:59:44 (permalink)
    Eisenberg's Sandwhich Shop! Not a tourist in sight..

    I guess it's not technically a deli..but they have some pretty terrific pastrimi and brisket sandwhiches....and supposedly the best egg salad in the city (not my thing, but others swear by it)

    Decor is awesome.,,great old lunch counter seating...hasn't changed since King Kong (the original) roamed Manhattan..

    AND as an extra bonus...perhaps the friendliest place in NY...
    #13
    Tony Bad
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 13:28:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Fred Ferris

    Very, very sad indeed....


    I had read this a few weeks ago, but it was too sad to post...and now it appears it fell through anyway:

    http://www.thevillager.com/villager_167/fameddeliwheremany.html


    Famed deli where many a sandwich was chewed will be a dental office

    By Jefferson Siegel


    For decades mavens sank their teeth into the succulent pastrami on rye sandwiches that made the 2nd Ave. Deli famous. Now all those alter kockers can come back to the corner of E. 10th St. to have those rye bread seeds cleaned from their teeth.


    According to Vincent Sheehan of the commercial real estate firm NYSPACE, Vital Dent, a dental services franchise, is on the verge of signing a contract for part of the space where chopped liver and half sours once reigned.


    Sheehan said the former restaurant space would be split. A “food tenant” would occupy the corner space. Sheehan didn’t know the name but said they had several other outlets but that it was not a franchise. Vital Dent would occupy the space facing Second Ave. as well as the basement.

    #14
    Pigiron
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 13:45:47 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by cornfed

    Are there any good delis with a complete menu that aren't touristy left in Manhattan or Brooklyn? I would say not really. You can find better NY delis outside of NY.


    Katz's is still the best deli in the USA.
    #15
    Pigiron
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 13:47:18 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Fred Ferris

    Eisenberg's Sandwhich Shop! Not a tourist in sight..

    I guess it's not technically a deli..but they have some pretty terrific pastrimi and brisket sandwhiches....and supposedly the best egg salad in the city (not my thing, but others swear by it)

    Decor is awesome.,,great old lunch counter seating...hasn't changed since King Kong (the original) roamed Manhattan..

    AND as an extra bonus...perhaps the friendliest place in NY...


    I gotta disagree on this one. Eisenberg's is a neat place in a throwback kinda way, but I find the food to be pretty awful, including the "famous" egg salad.
    #16
    Tony Bad
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 13:49:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pigiron

    quote:
    Originally posted by cornfed

    Are there any good delis with a complete menu that aren't touristy left in Manhattan or Brooklyn? I would say not really. You can find better NY delis outside of NY.


    Katz's is still the best deli in the USA.


    I while back I would have taken issue with this statement. I love Katz's, but found the 2nd Ave an equal...sadly, I now agree with you and there is no point in debate.
    #17
    cornfed
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 14:08:14 (permalink)
    Katz's is not a traditional deli, in that they don't have a full menu. Sure, they have the best pastrami. For any type of celebration, I used to go to Katz's. But I wouldn't consider it a family style deli, the Jewish equivalent of a diner. It specializes in one thing, with some other meats included. I'm thinking about a deli with smoked fish platters (lox, cod, whitefish), stuffed cabbage, mushroom barley soup, kreplach soup, and cabbage soup, chicken in the pot, fresh knishes (not the dried ones Katz's has sitting next to the hot dogs that they bought from Yonah Schimmel's), kishka, chopped liver, and a bounty of desserts including cheesecake, tapioca pudding, and rice pudding. Outside the touristy areas this does not exist in NY anymore. I love Eisenberg's, but that is a lunch counter not a deli. This type of deli exists in many parts of the country and are better than what you get in NY. I don't know why the Jewish deli has died in NY. It doesn't make sense. NY may have cleaned up, but it lost it's soul. This is not the NY I know. I seriously feel like there's very little reason to visit. It's a big outdoor mall with an international food court.
    #18
    fabulousoyster
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 14:17:40 (permalink)
    I beleive the traditional Jewish Deli has died in NY because the majority of the new generation will not eat this food. Its food with a great history, past history, of our fathers and grandfathers, who are currently sitting on a beach chair with a cardiac condition in South Florida. Pastrami Style Salmon is delicious and much healthier.
    Long live Katz's, I'll still visit there along with breakfast at Eisenbergs (they used to serve grits with breakfast).
    #19
    renfrew
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 14:30:11 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by fabulousoyster

    I beleive the traditional Jewish Deli has died in NY because the majority of the new generation will not eat this food. Its food with a great history, past history, of our fathers and grandfathers, who are currently sitting on a beach chair with a cardiac condition in South Florida. Pastrami Style Salmon is delicious and much healthier.
    Long live Katz's, I'll still visit there along with breakfast at Eisenbergs (they used to serve grits with breakfast).


    I take serious issue with this sentiment. I am part of this "new generation" and I have to tell you that there are more of us that want this type of food than those who do not. We remember this food and wonder where we can get it. It not the the food of our grandfathers in floridas, it is our food too and we want it back.

    It is not that the desire is not longer there, it is the fact that running a full service jewish deli is really tough. It requires passion and knowledge and a willingness to do things right not cheaply like so many other places. Not to mention that a lot of these ingredients dont exist.

    Where can you get liver knishes, rolled beef, kishka made the right way? You cant. Where can you find good mushroom barley that does not taste like canned beef broth? Flanken and pickled tongue that tastes like something? Coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad and health salad that does not come in 5 gallon drums?

    these things are tough to make and take talent and time to prepare. Not many people around anymore that want to take that challenge, however there are plenty of people both young and old that want to eat it.
    #20
    ScreenBear
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 23:23:14 (permalink)
    Renfrew,
    You hit the nail on the head. Jewish Deli food as we know/knew it is dying not for lack of an audience, but because of changes in the economic climate and how businesses are run.

    i.e.--"You have reached the Deli Hot line. We're sorry we cannot personally take your call at this time. But be assured it is important to us. Dial 1 if you like your pastrami lean. Dial 2 if you want your waiter to be mean and abrupt. Dial 3 if you just want to tell us that your Dad took you here when you were little and you have fond memories of the place. Oh....that's nice. Yes, we remember him, and you, too. And while we have you on the line, can we interest you in a Deli Hot line Visa Card? We're sure your Dad would have thought it was a good idea."

    You see, the times they are a changin', and it just don't work. Someone left the kugel out in the rain, and it took so long to make it, and we'll never have the recipe again, oh no, oh no, so to speak.

    To make this product really right is labor intensive and, aside from emotional dedication, requires a pride in craftsmanship. There can be no skimping on quality. No shortcuts. No pastrami can be sliced before its time.

    Without the good old product available, classically nurtured and prepared, new up and upcoming eaters will doubtful be indoctrinated by a perfect knish, or learn with serene delight that Kasha Varnishkes is the ultimate comfort food.

    Hence, this food in its sublime state will be like Jazz. It will be rare, loved, historically important, and not as available as it used to be.
    The Bear
    #21
    acer2x
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/01 23:41:45 (permalink)
    I disagree with the premise that the Jewish deli is dying. My grandfather was a pastrami/corned beef lover and he lived until age 82.I hope to follow in those footsteps. A new deli opened near me in Montgomeryville, PA- Pumpernicks- and they are doing great business. Of course, their menu is not as limited as Katz's and they don't hand cut their meats but they are busy all the time. They offer a wider choice than traditional deli food for all those salad and wrap lovers of the world.
    #22
    Fred Ferris
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/02 09:52:35 (permalink)
    I'm afraid I have to agree with FabulousOyster...I am of this the "new generation" he speaks of....and although the mere discussion here of piled high pastrami/corned beef sandwhichs is literally making me quiver with hunger lust....I simply cannot justify eating anything like this more than once a year or so...

    I used to fantazize about living in NY and eating this stuff all the time...then I did in fact wind up working in an office about midway between 2nd Ave. and Eisenberg's for 2 years....and I ate at 2nd once and Eisenbergs maybe twice (and Katz's once as well)....

    Bottom line is, I sat fantasizing about them all day, then when noon rolled around, wound up getting a salad...so unfortunately for these fantastic pieces of history, it seems others of my age are acting similarly...

    It's very sad.....but my desire to be healthy outweighs my craving for cured meat...
    #23
    renfrew
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/02 13:20:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Fred Ferris

    I'm afraid I have to agree with FabulousOyster...I am of this the "new generation" he speaks of....and although the mere discussion here of piled high pastrami/corned beef sandwhichs is literally making me quiver with hunger lust....I simply cannot justify eating anything like this more than once a year or so...

    I used to fantazize about living in NY and eating this stuff all the time...then I did in fact wind up working in an office about midway between 2nd Ave. and Eisenberg's for 2 years....and I ate at 2nd once and Eisenbergs maybe twice (and Katz's once as well)....

    Bottom line is, I sat fantasizing about them all day, then when noon rolled around, wound up getting a salad...so unfortunately for these fantastic pieces of history, it seems others of my age are acting similarly...

    It's very sad.....but my desire to be healthy outweighs my craving for cured meat...


    Glad to hear your input on this. However, I will say that there are enough people in the world these days to support anything as long as it is good. The excellent delis out there, the few that remain, are packed as long as they are open with people young and old. Hell, even the pitiful ones are. Boston for example has a bunch of really crappy jewish style deli's that have em lining out the door.

    As I have said, I am part of the young generation and I am in excellent health, I eat meat all the time, and I exercise faithfully. Anything in excess will harm you.

    And I am not saying you do this at all, but for many people who eat a salad, it is almost worse for you than a corned beef sandwich. I see tons of people that order salads and slather them with creamy dressings, cheese, and croutons that are basically fried in oil/butter. Not exactly healthy eating. Again, not saying you eat unhealthy salads, just that I see this more often than not.

    Finally, the thing about a good, traditional jewish deli is that the menu is so varied you could eat new things everyday. Its not just cured meat.





    #24
    Fred Ferris
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/02 14:21:16 (permalink)
    I truly hope you are right....was just a theory on why they seem to be disappearing in Manhattan...can't remember the last time I encountered anyone I worked (or played) with in NY who ever talked about going to a deli...at least those under 35...again, I am deeply saddened by the loss of 2nd Ave., even if I rarely patronized it...here in Chicago, however, there is nothing to tempt me (deli-wise at least)

    Now I'm off to have my usual McDonald's Asian Chicken Salad with Paul Newman low fat dressing....dull, dull, dull....
    #25
    renfrew
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/02 15:32:25 (permalink)
    I am 28 and I talk about it all the time!

    So you mention that you eat a McDs Asian Chicken Salad. So I looked up the nutrition on their very good website. The ingredients they list for even just the grilled chicken breast made me cringe with all the transfats,additives, preservatives, and other things that dont really classify as healthy in my mind. The ingredients for the glaze and liquid margarine to cook the chicken are just as bad.

    What is nutritional is certainly debated long and hard, and I am not making any judgements at all. But for me, pure ingredients with a bit more calories strike me as a lot healthier than something that needs to be manipulated to get a good calorie count. Just my take on it.

    Also I looked up the calorie/fat content of Schlotzky's corned beef sandwich. Not the best by far, but the benefit of big companies is that they have good websites with detailed nutritional info. A regualr corned beef sandwich without dressing from Schlotsky's (12.4oz) has 593 calories and 12g of fat. The grilled Asian Chicken Salad from MCD's (12oz) has 290 calories with 10g of fat.

    #26
    Fred Ferris
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/02 16:00:56 (permalink)
    Yes..but 10 grams of fat is not too bad at all...especially considering it has only 1 gram of saturated fat....and O trans fats...plus tons of fibre, vitamin C, etc....

    Your Schlotsky's (sp?) has almost 600 calories...and I'd be curious about the saturated fat and trans fat...and, just as important, nitrites (commom in cured beef)..it's funny we're talking about this as I just read an article today in the Chicago Sun Times about the horrors of nitrites in cured meat

    I can't believe I'm defending McDonald's, because I HATE that place in general...

    On a somewhat unrelated note...I used to live near a place in LA (Tom Bergin's)that served CORNED BEEF EGG ROLLS...love to see stats on those babies..but boy, were they ever good!
    #27
    BT
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/06 18:07:55 (permalink)
    I'm sorry, but I'd rather have the salad than a Schlotsky's sandwich. They really don't resemble a good CB sandwich from any respectable East Coast deli at all. In fact, while I love real corned beef, I don't like much from Schlotsky's. If I have to give up decent flavor to save some calories or fat, I'll just move on to a food that's naturally low cal or low fat.
    #28
    zoetmb
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/06 20:00:02 (permalink)
    It's true that the great Kosher delis are all gone. When I was a kid, I would work sometimes at the Rialto deli on Broadway and 48th St.
    [You can see the outside of this deli in the movie, 'A Fine Madness' with Sean Connery, which was just released on DVD (although I haven't actually watched the DVD). The inside of the deli shown in the movie is a hollywood set - the real one was too small to shoot in. ]

    At any rate, they used to pickle their own corned beef and cure & pepper their own pastramis in the basement. No deli does that anymore. They're all made by outside services. Likewise, almost all hot dogs (aside from Hebrew National) sold by New York restaurants, are made by the same company (I forget the name.) The might use different recipes for each restaurant, but the meat used is essentially the same.

    There are a number of reasons why there are few Kosher delis left and whether you want to accept it or not, these types of restaurants are going away. For one thing, the number of Jews in NYC is actually decreasing. For another, most of the food is not very healthy. It might be delicious, but it's not healthy, although I think it's fine to eat once in a while. And while New Yorkers are pretty diverse in their food tastes and their desire for ethnic food, I don't think that Kosher deli type food is in big demand any longer.

    Katz's is not a true traditional deli. It's not because it doesn't have a full family menu, as others have suggested - it's because Katz's is not a kosher deli. Even Berger's is no longer a kosher deli and it's right in the middle of jewelry exchange district where thousands of hasidic jews work.

    But there are still a few "pretty good" delis left in New York. There is Arties Deli on Broadway and 83rd st. Their pastrami is pretty good, but it's not hand sliced. My favorite and still-kosher New York deli is Ben's Best in Rego Park, Queens. (It has nothing to do with the Ben's chain.) I think it's probably the best kosher deli left in NYC. Their brisket and their pastrami is really terrific and their turkey breast is pretty good as well - much better than the turkey breast at the now-gone 2nd Avenue Deli, which was always dry and tasteless.

    #29
    Ciaoman
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    RE: NY's 2nd Avenue Deli Closed? 2006/08/06 20:33:32 (permalink)
    Interesting post. In your opinion, would the food at Katz's improve if it became a bona fide Kosher deli? What a subject for a blind tasting! Katz's pastrami vs Ben's.

    I was brought up in Brooklyn and ate at Kosher delis quite often and frequently enjoyed their food at home via take-out. Seemed like there was a good Kosher deli in most every neighborhood--the places were frequented by persons of all sorts back then. Too bad "cholesterol" was invented.

    You may be right about the hot dogs but, man, they sure tasted great to me...loved the "pop" when you ate 'em. And the hot sourkraut that you helped yourself to. As much as I liked the pastrami, I think the corned beef was my favorite. Even if you could replicate it outside of the city, you'd have a really tough time finding real Jewish rye (with an actual crust). Those little delis had a great atmosphere and a smell all their own. Maybe it was the pickles? NY comfort food!
    #30
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