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Madray's, then Barson's, then Hymie's Too, now Moe's...Lafayette Hill

WHAT is going on? is the Jewish population leaving LH? Because this is (or was) one of the FEW places to get REAL bagels and smoked fish and had a nice variety. I only bought some lox and cream cheese spread but I wondered...there was an Oriental guy running the place!

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  1. Jews aren't the only people who love and want a quality Jewish deli, but this location in Lafayette Hill (Madray's, Barson's, Hymie's, Moe's) just doesn't seem to work regardless of ownership. Under every moniker, the place has been really dirty and the food sub-par. I finally just gave up on giving the location "one more chance". You'll have to go to Katz' deli in West Philly to get what you want. At rush hour, the line to get into Katz' is a mile long. Or Pumpernick's in Montgomeryville. If others can do it right, how come it can't be done in Lafayette Hill?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Enjoy Good Food

      To be fair, it used to be good years ago when it was Madray's, but I'm talking about 40 years ago. Maybe it's only my memory from so long ago making it good, but it's certainly gone downhill since. And I don't think it's really been renovated or even freshened up for the last 50 years.

      1. re: Jdbc

        Nope, your memory is clear. When it was Madray's, it was good...and ever since then, it's been down, down, down. To Enjoy Good Food, West Philly from Phoenixville? I don't think so. But I too agree with you...why can't this be done right? So, so, so disappointing.

        1. re: gardens4me

          Did I say "Katz's Deli" in West Philly???? Must have been a senior moment. I meant KOCH'S DELI at 43rd and Locust. Close, eh? I haven't been to Katz's in Phoenixville.

          1. re: Enjoy Good Food

            There is NO Katz in Phoenixville. I moved out here from the Chestnut Hill area several years ago and still visit the former Madray's for bagels etc....and that's why I was asking. Driving from Pville to West Philly? Might as well drive to NYC to H&H Bagels on Broadway. Now THERE was a real bagel!

            1. re: Enjoy Good Food

              Don't know how recently you've been to Koch's but a few years ago it changed ownership, and Bob Koch has passed away (not sure which happened first). The quality of meats and breads last time I was there was no better than what you can get at Acme. Not sure about the bagels but doubt they are anything special. They make a decent sandwich but not worth any kind of special trip.

              New York Bagels on Haverford near City Ave is slightly closer than going into real West Philly and has bagels that I think are better than H&H. You can get H&H bagels at the Capogiro locations in the city, btw.

              1. re: barryg

                NY bagels on Haverford Ave is great, best in Phila IMHO, get the flagels there as well.

        2. re: Enjoy Good Food

          Pumpernick's in Montgomeryville is a good choice. However, the best lox "slicer" is Aaron at the Genuardi's in St. Davids. He also makes the whitefish salad.

        3. Go to Hymie's on Montgomery Drive - less than a half hr from Lafayette Hill. All the Jewish deli setting you could ever want. :)

          1. Barson's and Hymie's are one and the same. (the Hymies on Montgomery is actually Barson Hymie's..) But no matter. The LH version, while an improvement over the former occupant, Izenbergs (a real dump then..) was only slightly less a dump with Hymies arrival. The promise of pickle bar and Hymies Montgomery ave fare...fell victim to staff that simply dont give a damn. THe latest incarnation..Moe's..keeps hymies menu...but really falls flat on food, feel, care, clean...you name it..

            2 Replies
            1. re: GBak504

              Thanks...now I'm really glad I only bought a small container of lox spread. Guess I will never get over Madray's...just like I'll never get over Rizzo's Pizza in Glenside.

              1. re: gardens4me

                Big Red RIP. My brother was inconsolable.

            2. We live within walking distance of this place and it has been horrible and filthy through three changes of ownership.
              Locally we buy our lox and bagels in the same shopping center at the Market at Lafayette Hill. The only problem is that they will often precut the lox because most of the staff in the deli area dont know how to do it. They have good nova, kippered salmon, whitefish salad. The bagels are ok. The main thing is that it is clean.
              Given the time we head to Pumpernick's in Montgomeryville

              1 Reply
              1. re: thehungrything

                Yes, I don't like that they pre-cut at the Market. There is only one guy there that knows how to do it. I mean really, is this so hard to teach!!!???

              2. You really should give Murray's in Bala Cynwyd a try. They are also on Montgomery Avenue just one block down from Hymie's. I think their food is great. They have a deli and a restaurant section. I have not eaten in the restaurant in years, but the deli has good stuff. The prices are a little on the outrageous side, but if the food is good, it's worth a splurge now and then.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Userfriend

                  I do go there when I'm in the neighborhood, it's just that more frequently, I am near Chestnut Hill and this was (past tense now) a decent spot to pick up real bagels and fish on the way to the Turnpike.

                2. Ok, had a lapse in judgement and went back today...figured...how bad could it be? Answer: worse. I officially downgrade this place to Dump. Filthy, poorly stocked, ineptly staffed. Many items out of stock, unprepared...in process...stale. Yep, stale...overheard waitress to a nearby table..."nope, you dont want that is been around. Nope, not that either". Pickle bar all in disarray, messy. Worst: could overhear staff talking, shall we say colorfully, about shall we say adult subjects, with adult language. Really? really. stay away.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: GBak504

                    Go to Sables or Russ and Daughter's in NYC. Nothing in Philly compares, unfortunately.

                    1. may be a bit of a drive but Ben and Irv's in Huntingdon Valley does Lox and White Fish right. You can even eat there, if you wish. Bagels aren't very good but there is a Manhattan a few blocks down on County Line that has above average bagels.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: DoubleBurger

                        Murray's on the MainLine is good; it's just a drive for me. I can't STAND fake bagels.

                        1. re: DoubleBurger

                          I eat at B & I at least twice a month on weekends... do not know where they source their bagels from but they are far better than anything that Manhattan Bagels has ever produced. That said their whitefish salad is adequate, but if someone is looking for hand cut nova B& I is not where I would send someone.

                          There are some nice touches on their plates in the restaurant... you normally get lettuce, tomato, onion with nova or whitefish salad and a bagel. You also get some nice cucumber, a great gaeta olive and just the other weekend I got a great slice of a dead ripe red bell pepper... And to top it all off, the servers many of who have been there for ever it seems are sweethearts. (The kind of place where everyone is dear or sweetie when you get your food... ) Another downside to the place though is the coffee resembles dishwater ...

                          1. re: cwdonald

                            Coming home this weekend from Tampa, which is where I live now. The best lox down here is packaged in the supermarkets... HELP!

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              Totally agree about their coffee. The low point of any meal there. Not sure when they stopped cutting lox to order, but they have precut for awhile. The quality seems good to me, but it's cut too thick and pre cutting allows the lox to dry out too much.

                          2. Well...Moe's is now gone too.

                            Appears the Lafayette Market at the other end of the strip is the new owner... Will open in October.

                            Fingers crossed that the third, nope, fourth time is the charm..

                            1. While I have no Jewish heritage on either side of the family, I grew up on deli thanks to a mom who was ravenous for borscht and sour cream, corned beef on rye, dill pickles out of the barrel and a side of fried kishka. Barson's in Ivy Hill was a regular haunt - so much that the waitress knew our ice cream soda preferences by heart. If you ordered anything with bacon, she'd yell out "Drop one!" to the grill cook which meant to put the bacon on. I also remember the enormous sundae called the Empire State complete with American flag on top. Dad always counted on me not finishing so he could. Fond memories.

                              1. Soon to open in that space, Knishes and Dishes, a Jewish style diner by the owners of the market at Lafayette Hill.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: thehungrything

                                  Went there for first time yesterday for takeout. Spinach knish was ok. Onion bagel was not fresh. Anyone else been?

                                  1. re: JanR

                                    What time of day Jan? I have found in general if the place does not make their own bagels, they will not be fresh after 10 am.