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2nd Avenue Deli Reopening

Any word on the likely Re-opening Date?

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  1. Soon Man, Soon....
    From eater.com
    Posted in May

    I was rolling down Atlantic Avenue in a cab on my way back from a housewarming party. As the cab rolled to a stop at a red light, I noticed the second ave deli van had just pulled up next to me. I rolled down the window to speak to the driver.

    Me: You still making deliveries?
    Driver: Nah man, soon. soon tho.
    Me: Really? They are reopening?
    Driver: Yeah.
    Me: Where?
    Driver: Thirty Third and Third
    Me: Wow! How long?
    Driver: Soon man. Soon.
    Me: How soon?
    Driver: Oh, I say five months.

    1. We passed by last Sunday, and they've now installed a rolled-down security gate, so there was no way of looking inside. But I'd say that's a sign that they will be re-opening very soon.

      1. Joy and rapture, but no definite date yet. Here's the details:

        2nd Avenue Deli
        162 E. 33rd St., New York, NY 10016
        nr. Third Ave.

        Yes, 2nd Avenue Deli is reopening on Toity-Toid and Toid. I just called them, having just read about them somewhere else and was told they were opening "sometime later in the Fall, call back in a couple of weeks for an update."

        soon, man, soon. The Gods will be smiling on that day.

        1. my colleagues and i call all the time. they don't have a date but they hope with in a few weeks. we asked if they would be open by january, the response we got was "we hope so." i hope so too. rumor has it, they are having issues with the liquor license. RGR is right, the gate is down and there is no sign up yet.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fein

            walked by it this afternoon, yes, a brand new gate was down and no signage yet. lets hope its sooner than later.

          2. Today eater.com (NY 1) reported 2nd Avenue Deli should be open in the next month and possibly 24/7. I can't wait for some chopped chicken liver on rye.

            4 Replies
            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              The article in Sunday's "NY Times Magazine" included the info that it will be open 24/7. Also, it appears it will no longer be kosher. I'm guessing the owners feel these changes are necessary because they will be going head-to-head with Sarge's, which is only 3 blocks away.

              1. re: RGR

                Thanks, RGR. I believe the NY1 report said they were going to remain kosher. I guess not if they plan to be open on Friday night and Saturday.

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  When they were on 2nd Av., they were kosher but remained open on Friday night and Saturday. A deli can be still be certified kosher as long as it maintains the rules of "kashruth," even if it remains open on the Sabbath. "Glatt" kosher delis close on the Sabbath and on all Jewish holidays. The old 2nd Ave. Deli closed only on a few Jewish holidays.

                  1. re: RGR

                    Many thanks, RGR. My ex would know all this. Now that you mention it I do remember going to 2nd Avenue Deli on a Saturday . . .

            2. I heard they were hoping to open sometime in November. Last time I peeked in, they seemed to amost be done with the renovations.

              1. I believe that while they were Kosher in the old location, they weren't up to the strictest standards and for that reason there were significant segments of the Kosher community that would not dine there. If they are no longer going to be Kosher, perhaps it is because it isn't practical to remain in that middle ground.

                The big question I am wondering about is delivery. They used to deliver practically anywhere in Manhattan. Anyone know anything???

                1. I just called them to check in. The lady I spoke to said they hope to be open just after thanksgiving.

                  I can't wait.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ultraclay

                    They're obviously getting close to opening because they're hiring.


                  2. Oh joy!!!! Oh rapture!!!! I was holding off on planning my next trip to NYC to visit my brother and sister-in-law but I feel with the re-opening of my favorite deli I will have to speed up the process.

                    I literally dream about their chopped liver on rye bread all the time. It's one of lifes great joys (especially coming from the deli waste land that seems to be Washington, DC).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Elyssa

                      I used to use their chocolate babka to charm a business associate. He was trained to expect a half or whole one whenever we had meetings, and my agenda was usually served. It got to where, if he saw me he'd say, "where's my babka?" Whatever works.

                    2. I LOVE this thread!

                      I think if someone said "you can go to Per Se or 2nd Avenue deli for dinner tomorrow night" I'd pick 2nd avenue deli. I sooooo miss that place.

                      Do you think they will still have a counter where you can buy food to take home?

                      How big is this new space? Does anyone know?

                      I wonder if they'll rehire back any of their old staff. Orville was my favorite server.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: BW212

                        Am I the only person who thinks that the pastrami at the old place was uneven at best and really salty at worst? The fries were very good , and the hot dogs were good but not as good as Katz's. I've been going to Sarge's lately (closer to me than Kat'z's) and of course I will try the 2nd AVE deli when it opens but I'm not holding my breath. It would be a real shame if since they are both in the same area that they canablizes each other and neither survives.

                        1. re: joelm

                          remember the fact that they were hamstrung by kosher meat. If that is no longer the case, watch out...

                          1. re: tpigeon

                            Pastrami Queen is Kosher and the pastrami at the new place is pretty much as good as it gets (almost up to the old Pastrami King)

                        2. re: BW212

                          There's no deli that does not do take-out, so why would 2nd Ave. Deli be any different?

                          From what I've seen of the space during construction, it's not very larger. The article in the Sunday "NYTimes Magazine" said there will be 60-65 seats, about half the number in the old location.

                        3. I don't get the joy and rapture...i used to live a couple blocks away from the old location and the two times i tried the food, it was awful!...horrible matzo ball soup, etc...

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: ricky7

                            In my book, their matzo ball soup is as close to ambrosia as one can get. But I guess if one likes chunks of chicken in their soup, it would disappoint.

                            I'm so excited about the reopening!

                              1. re: LoveKosherEats

                                I walked by this morning and they look like they are very close to opening. I'd say maybe a week or two at most.

                                1. re: fooodie

                                  Indeed, acc. to this article in "NY Magazine," they will be opening on December 17th.


                              2. re: BW212

                                The matzo ball soup at 2nd Ave deli was my favorite in the city. Perhaps Simon had a single bad experience?

                              3. re: Simon

                                I have found their matzo ball soup excellent. Tasted almost like Mom's. Plus as I said, I'm living in a city that sucks in terms of Jewish style delis. There is NOTHING like 2nd Avenue. I have never tried Katz's but I have always loved 2nd Avenue. I liked the food and the people. Although hearing that it will onlyu seat 60 people makes be invision long lines, especially on the weekends.

                                1. re: Elyssa

                                  yes...Dec 17th...as reported on the website savethedeli.com. Cant wait. Expect huge crowds and lots of media attention.

                              4. I can't wait to savor all that wonderful food. Their cabbage salad that they give you when you first are seated is to die for.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: frankie868

                                  Foodies! Who ate at the new 2nd Avenue Deli yesterday?

                                  I'm dying to know details...

                                  1. re: LDubs

                                    i thought there would be plenty of responses. I hope to go there later today. will report back too.

                                    1. re: ricky7

                                      I did take out from there yesterday.

                                      Food seems the same. (YAY!)

                                      Some of the same staff, lots of new people. There was a wait out the door at 8:30. by ten there was still a line but shorter. They still haven't gotten their system down so it took a LONG time to get the take out.

                                      The restaurant is long and thin. Tables really close together. Lots of tiles, some dark wood.

                                      No delivery yet, but they are doing catering.

                                      Welcome back 2nd Avenue Deli!

                                      1. re: BW212

                                        just tried to get some of the matzo ball soup like my mother used to buy me and i waited in line for so long i just left. the same woman was at the counter apparently just chatting the entire time.
                                        a bubbly asian woman was alos just telling people were to go and how to stand, she irritated me.

                                        1. re: ceasar11

                                          went there this afternoon for takeout. I'm sorry to say something wasnt quite right. The matzo ball soup, which i loved on 10th st, was overwhemingly salty to the point of not being able to eat all of it. The pastrami was very juicy, to the point where the rye bread acted like a sponge, and the meat just wasnt that flavorful. I just ate at Katz's two weeks ago and their pastrami is amazing. A 5. 2nd ave was a 3. kinda disappointed but i will return i'm sure.

                                          1. re: ricky7

                                            Give the soup another try. When I got it there Tuesday, it was absolute perfection. I mean seriously, I'm still raving about it a week later.

                                            Mine was not salty at all, so maybe you just got a bad batch.

                                2. Sadly, they're not as ready for business yet as they'd like you to think....
                                  ... and whoever came up with the takeout procedure was not thinking clearly AT ALL.

                                  The line isn't all that bad, but the staff are sloooooow, in part because they don't know what to do. Waiters are cutting jumping in and ordering meals, or fixing problems from previous orders, from the same 3 guys behind the counter who are attending to take outs. Normally take out orders get precedence, so they can get you out the door, but here they clog up the narrow hallway instead.

                                  So take out works like this: You stand in line at the counter to order and you get a receipt. Then you stand in line to pay the cashier, and he hands you a new receipt. Then you're back in line at the counter again waiting for your order to get called. There isn't really room for a second pick up line at the counter, so you're basically just trying to stay out of the way...and it's a longer wait then it should be. I watched a woman try and buy one of the tins of rugelach from the counter, but once she got close enough to snatch the cookies, they wouldn't let her buy them until she got a ticket. THEN she had to pay, and go back to the counter again with her receipt just so they could hand them to her in a bag. I'm sorry but that's absurd.

                                  Size wise, the dining room is not much bigger then the side room at the old location. It looks like a mini 2nd Ave. Deli (after the last renovation) about the size of a train car. Frankly, it doesn't make sense. Soup is $6.99. Sandwiches start at $13, chopped liver is $10.... you're telling me they couldn't find affordable rent in a larger space?

                                  If that wasn't all odd enough, try waiters coming up to the counter to try and accommodate requests for toasted bagels, and being told they had to go to the back and toast it themselves. Another table apparently got served well done Pastrami as Brisket. People have some really ridiculous requests and combinations 2nd Ave. tries to indulge, but the staff were struggling to keep up.

                                  The food? Well the Pastrami I had was a bit uneven. Half of it was tough, and the other half tender. It was enjoyable, and well seasoned, but I was worn down before even getting my food.

                                  Basically, they're not ready for prime time yet.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sugartoof

                                    I believe they bought this space, which I suspect is why it is so small. But I agree, the take out line was a disaster. Hopefully they'll get things down the way they need them to be soon.

                                  2. Had a pastrami sandwich and a matzo ball soup yesterday from 2nd ave- line was out the door to sit- i took take out and sat in my car right outside at the muni-meter. matzo ball soup tasted like dishwater- looked the same as before (i ate at the previous 2nd ave hundreds and hundreds of times since i was a child and considered their matzo ball soup the definitive outside of my grandmothers, mothers, and wife's soups), the matzo balls themselves were light and fluffy and delicious but the soup itself was total dishwater and none of the richness it used to have. the pastrami was pretty much as awful as ever- i went to the only counter guy i recognized from the old days (he recognized me too) and asked him for a "fatty, old school" pastrami. he nodded approvingly and smiled- what he gave me tasted awful, fatty yes, tastless yes, no snark, barely any spice, it tasted like stringy, fatty corned beef. literally no spicing at all. i ate 4 bites and gave it to a homeless man. finished the soup and 3 sour pickles and 2 pieces of deliciously fresh rye bread and called it a day. let's hope they get their act together- 2nd ave never had the best pastrami, it's the fact that they still serve all the great hard to find jewish food specialities- derma, specials, toungue, kasha, egg barley, soups, etc. i will continue to go back and the 24 hour thing is a HUGE bonus but let us hope they get it together soon... ben's best in queens still wins the current "battle pastrami". enjoy fb

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: frankbooth

                                      I thought that second avenue deli OWNS their new space. As far as the last two or three posts show,they are wildly popular-and havent gotten the kinks out-it usually takes several weeks maybe longer.Prices do seem to be on the high side. Ill wait till either after new years or until the nytimes food critic reviews it.

                                        1. re: mrbeachy

                                          well good for them owning. unfortunately, the space isn't laid out properly, nor is their system for handling customers very practical so far.

                                          hopefully they'll iron out the kinks, but i wouldn't hold my breath.

                                          frank - my sandwich was well spiced, but my guess is there's no consistency in their product right now.

                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                            glad to hear your pastrami was better spiced than mine- my was really awful. but truly, i ate religiously at 2nd ave deli back in the day and will continue to patronize the new one. i'm really rooting (sp?) for them in the new space and need to go back, sit down at a table, and have a whole meal. but let them at least get the two most important (arguably) items on a jewish deli menu, the matzo ball soup and the pastrami sandwich, right. is that so much to ask? but at 4 a.m. i'll bet that matzo ball soup tastes incredible...

                                      1. My wild hunch is they have plans on opening more locations around the city. That's the only rational way I can figure why they would buy such a small commercial space. Otherwise, they would have been better buying in Queens. Just a guess, but I wouldn't be shocked if the UES gets a 2nd Ave. deli too.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: sugartoof

                                          My guess is that they are planning on doing a huge catering business and do not need so much dining space for that.

                                        2. anyone had the mushroom barley soup yet? it used to be my dad's favorite, but he doesn't want to bother with the chaos at the new location until he knows if it's going to be the same. [and judging from the reviews of the matzoh ball soup on this board, i fear it may not be...]

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            have not tried it, but go late at night or early in the morning and get some- there won't be a line at 7 a.m....

                                          2. I will preface this by saying I never ate at the old location. So I don't know what it used to taste like, or if it's any better or worse. All I know is how it compares to other places in Murray Hill, and that I'm dying of slow boredom with most restaurants within lunchtime walking range.

                                            So I am tremendously happy to have a newcomer, especially one with such juicy, moist and fatty pastrami. Egad, to think that I had never eaten pastrami before. Plus the chocolate soda - so inviting, like a chocolate egg cream!

                                            I'd tell you how the matzoh ball soup compares to Sarge's but they had RUN OUT!!! So I had to settle for kreplach. (Which I think should be renamed craplack since I apparently don't like it, or haven't eaten a good version anywhere. It's always kinda got a sour, weird aftertaste - what causes this?)

                                            But I will be returning to toity-toird and toird soon if my heartburn and wallet can handle it. (Yes, it's sorta expensive, but this is worthwhile.)

                                            1. A word of advice to those ordering the pastrami: request it thinly sliced and rich, (fatty) not lean. I I was addicted to the pastrami sandwich and often made the 2-minute walk down second avenue... after getting one oddly tough, dry, pastrami sandwich, the counterman told me how to order it and I never got a tough one again.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: hungrycomposer

                                                please see my post above- i've been eating pastrami at 2nd ave and other great NY jewish delis my whole 36 year life- i ordered my pastrami sandwich "fatty" and "old school" from the counterman who i recognized from the old location- it came to me dry, tough, and basically inedible. this week, i was back and bought my wife a pastrami sandwich (and myself a brisket turkey combo). pastrami was a bit better, but still tasteless and no snark at all. brisket and turkey were much better. but ordering pastrami fatty at second ave may have meant something in olden times, but it was no help this time. for good old school fatty snarky melt in your mouth pastrami it's ben's best in queens and mill basin kosher on a really good day (which they have...). enjoy fb

                                                1. re: frankbooth

                                                  I finally made it to Sarge's for the first time a few months ago and was thrilled to find when I ordered fatty pastrami, it was all that and very juicy. Not kosher, but neither is Katz's.

                                                  Btw, I'm a huge fan of the Mill Basin Deli. All their meats are excellent but my favorite is the seriously delicious knoblewurst.

                                              2. Went at 5PM the other day to pick up appetizers. The smoked fish comes by the 1/2 lb. and all of it was so fresh, flavorful and my dinner companions loved it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: taboo

                                                  Had dinner there last week.....disappointed but will give another try or 2. Had turkey sandwich--very dry and skimpy on portion too. Kasha good but was almost half size of the 2 nd ave location and at $6.75 ..no longer a good choice.
                                                  I still prefer The Carngie on 55 st, but will give this new location another try. Also: seating very cramped and uncomfortabe.

                                                2. hallelujah! the chopped liver is as fantastic as ever. i agree about the take out system, though - it's a mess!

                                                  1. Went again to 2nd Ave Deli and had the matzo ball soup (with a matzo ball this time) and the hot pastrami sandwich. Pastrami still good but less of a relevatory experience than previous time (granted, this was the in between hours of the morning.)

                                                    Matzo ball soup was lifeless, and having the matzo ball didn't add much of anything. I still prefer Sarge's.

                                                      1. re: one

                                                        is that really pastrami with lettuce and mayo????

                                                        1. re: im hungry

                                                          looks like lettuce and tomato?...WTF?

                                                          1. re: ricky7

                                                            IS THAT MAYO?!?! que horror.

                                                            1. re: ESNY

                                                              throws a gob of hellmans at esny, and lettuce and tomato all in the thread.

                                                      2. Did take out again from 2nd Ave deli yesterday. matzah ball soup was not as good as the first time (but still good). Kash Varnishkes still rocked.

                                                        Still a very long line and the take out process was stressfull.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: BW212

                                                          Are there still really long lines? Thinking about meeting a friend there for lunch tomorrow

                                                        2. ate a late dinner there last night. they said it was a 20 minute wait, but we were asked pretty quickly whether we would like to share a table for 4 with another couple. we said sure, host said "good deli makes good friends" and we sat down at a 4 top. too bad the other couple didn't want to share the table with us, but our good karma got us the 4 top all for ourselves.

                                                          we only ordered 3 things: soft salami on rye, pastrami on rye, side of fries. salami was delicious but nothing special, tasted like every salami sandwich i've ever had at a kosher deli. the pastrami was amazing, second only to katz's only because i like it cut thick and 2nd avenue slices it thin. i've had the pastrami twice before at the new location, and this was by the far the best version yet. juicy, smokey, peppery, everything that pastrami should be (the other two times the pastrami was everything that pastrami should not be.

                                                          the fries were awful. don't order them. soggy, not salty, not crispy. not good.

                                                          health salad (free) and sour pickles (also free) were terrific.

                                                          service was absolutely fantastic.

                                                          only question: i've heard so much about the free gribenes and free chocolate soda shots but we didn't get either. didn't look like anyone else did either. any reason why some people get them (or at least say they do) and others do not?

                                                          total for 2 sandwiches and fries and a dr. brown's black cherry: $35 plus tip.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jon

                                                            Ate at the 2nd Ave Deli tonight. Got there at 6:15 and waited about 15 minutes for a table for two. Waits were somewhat longer for larger parties and the line was out the door (and into the rain). Oddly, though there was someone at the door asking how many in each party, he wasn't taking names. Seemed a little random.

                                                            Being that this was our first time in the new space, my buddy and I both ordered pastrami sandwiches as a standard litmus test. We also got a plate of fries and onion rings and I had a Cel-Ray.

                                                            What can I say...the pastrami was excellent! As good as I remember. Just enough fat and very flavorful. Unlike Jon's experience, not only were our fries crispy and good, but our (excellent and cute) waitress brought them out about ten minutes before our sandwiches arrived. As soon as she returned with our sandwiches she grabbed the half-eaten plate of fries and said "these must be cold by now...let me get you a new plate."

                                                            We were also given the free gribenes prior to the meal along with pickles and coleslaw and the chocolate soda shots after the meal.

                                                            I'll be back many more times! For the food and the waitress :)


                                                          2. I went a few weeks ago and got a pastrami and tongue sandwich. Total bill for takeout? $38. There was a huge line around the corner of people waiting to sit. It was delicious and I'll be back, but not that quickly. I wrote a bit more about it on my blog, if you're interested.

                                                            1. I still prefer Carnegie Deli in 7TH Ave...much larger portions of everything at about the same prices as 2ND ave...and super tasting on all, and you don't feel all cramped in. As I said in a previous post, 2nd ave Deli has raised prices and gives you smaller portions! And food is not consistently good..some days yes, some no.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: jerryinbklyn

                                                                Everytime I walk by, I have to stop in and pick up something to go....it is just the best comfort food.

                                                                1. re: taboo

                                                                  Order the WOODY ALLEN for under $17 which I do(all turkey on it for me) , eat some there and take home rest for 3 more dinners at home. THere has to be 2 or more LBS of meat on it---a real bargain.

                                                                  1. re: taboo

                                                                    They make it really really hard to order there -- I live in the 'hood. I tried to order delivery -- 2 hour wait. I tried to order so my boyfriend could pick up on his way home (I have a terrible cold) and not only would take out be an hour -- but the guy basically told me to call ahead was stupid. I ordered from Sarges. For delivery matzoh ball soup? It'll be fine