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What??? No more Jewish Delis???

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  1. They have to evolve, like everything else.

    79 Replies
    1. re: Bob W

      How does tradition evolve? What should they do?

      1. re: mucho gordo

        While the Jewish deli may be a tradition - it was a tradition that originally emerged in response to immigrant single Jewish men who kept kosher/kosher-like. The delis served to provide these men nearly 3 meals a day.

        As their clientele changed for single men to families - the delis have changed. Traditions change and evolve. And businesses definitely need to.

        Also - there are large numbers of 'sandwich competitors' that compete in the market place these days. No matter how Jewish I may be - a burrito or pad thai for lunch, speaks to me more than a cornbeef sandwich. So there's the option to double down on authenticity (which will benefit Katz's and other name brand delis) or to evolve and attract business that they've lost.

        1. re: cresyd

          How would you have them evolve? Should they start making chopped liver burritos?
          Sure, one day you may prefer a burrito to corned beef but the next day a nice piece of kishka might be even more appealing. There's room for all types of food just the way they are.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            Ultimately, a Jewish deli - no matter how great the tradition - is a business. And if people stop frequenting the business, it won't last. No matter what the cultural significance.

            Down-thread I have a post where I mention an "evolved" diner in Chicago called Eleven City Diner. Just by looking at its website, it's clear that it's not a traditional Jewish deli at all, but it has a lot of traits of one in a fun way. That's one idea. I'm sure there are others.

            I have a lot of personal love for the traditional Jewish deli - as a food institution and as a cultural one. But as they are, they're not financially surviving. No matter the sentimentality.

            1. re: cresyd

              You're right; they are not surviving financially and I don't think it's the food, per se. IMHO, I think it's due to a younger, trendier generation.
              True delis are left for us old geezers and there aren't enought of us left.

              1. re: mucho gordo

                Mucho, I am baffled that there are not more non-jewish customers at the good jewish delis. By my estimation, only 30%. Not enough. I try to do my share. I recognize a good thing and I hate to see good traditions fade away. Panera Bread and Jason's Deli and the invasion of similar chains hasn't helped, but they are not a shadow of the real thing. I will detour across the Delaware River on the Walt Whitman bridge for one more sandwich at Koch's on 43rd and Locust in Philly.

                1. re: Veggo

                  I knew I could count on your support.

                2. re: mucho gordo

                  As far as trends go - I agree that Jewish deli style eating as it is has gone out of fashion. That being said, I don't think the food itself is going out of fashion - but it would mean changing how the "deli" presents itself.

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    My wife & I are a couple of goyim in our 40's and we LOVE Jewish Delis. For the last 20 years at least, we just can't get enough.. we used to drive 30 miles out of our way to Flakowitz, and Zinger's when we lived near West Palm Beach... now we're stuck in Grand Rapids where there is NO deli to speak of. My wife's from Manhattan... & this is a desert... Going to Chicago soon, and we're going to try Kaufman's, and Eleven City Diner. Can't wait. We're also going to Alinea & Next on the same trip so I don't know if we're trendy, but we LOVE good food.

                    1. re: skipgorham

                      I had a great time at Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen in Chicago last year. Delicious. Lots of fun. Might want to check it out if you haven't been.

                      Roast brisket sandwich and chocolate iced cake donut were fantastic. Wasn't crazy about the matzo ball soup and the latke could have been warmer but was delish.

                3. re: mucho gordo

                  Well said.

                  I cannot imagine a world without restaurants that offer the best pastrami sandwich or chicken soup or kishka or loaves of stellar rye.

                  A burrito isn't going to cut it when I need a quart of chicken soup for my cold and don't physically feel like making it.
                  Alot of us only have a few relatives or friends left who'll, without asking, show up at the door with a pot of soup.

                  1. re: latindancer

                    A few months ago my boss did this for me - showed up at my apartment when I was ill with a pot of soup. We often do not get along, but it was a truly lovely gesture and very much appreciated.

              2. re: Bob W

                Really? Why? It's ok to have Mexican, Puerto Rican, Italian, Indian, etc, but the jewish deli has to evolve? A great pastrami sandwich is a wonderful meal for anyone. I for one do see them going and it's a shame.

                1. re: wincountrygirl

                  Please. Are the popular chinese restaurants of today like the ones of 40 years ago.Same for any other ethic cuisine. And given how unhealthy traditional Jewish deli food is, I'd say there is even more of a need to evolve.

                  Like they say, you can't eat tradition. I grew up eating deli food reguarly, but those days are long gone. And if younger people don't grow up eating deli food these days, why would they start?

                  DGS in DC is an example of an evolved Jewish deli.

                  1. re: Bob W

                    No, they are not the same but they still exist. And please - chinese food is healthy? People who love kosher deli should still have the option, healthy or not. I'm not familiar with DGS, but it's nice to have a healthy option, lets just not forget about those of us who go to a kosher deli for a good brisket sandwich.

                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                      Look, I love deli food as much as the next guy, but I don't eat it regularly and the pool of diners who do is clearly shrinking.

                      As for chinese food, I never said it was healthy, or that DGS is especially healthy either (but its portions are more in line with contemporary dining trends, as in sandwiches that make one meal, not four). The point is that the chow mein/chop suey/egg rolls we happily ate 40 years ago on Sunday night have been supplanted by better, more interesting stuff.

                      It comes down to the marketplace, obviously. Delis can't survive as museum pieces.

                      1. re: Bob W

                        I've never been to DGS, as I haven't lived in DC since 1999, but DC was never a big deli town. I'm not surprised someone would try to make a go of it with smaller portions.

                        Is it kosher, or kosher-style, Bob? Do they have good corned beef?

                        1. re: Jay F

                          Jay, I'd call it a neo-deli. The menu (check it out, http://www.dgsdelicatessen.com/) features traditional foods played down the middle (e.g., chicken soup with a huge, glorious matzoh ball) as well as other dishes with sephardic twists and other tweaks. The proprietors did "reseach" (i.e., ate like kings) at places in NYC such as Kutsher's Tribeca and Mile End. They also made a great move bringing in authentic Montreal bagels, which I had never seen before. They are relatively small and slightly sweet.

                          You are right, DC is not a great deli town. I think Loeb's is perfectly adequate, and does quite well. And the beloved Attman's of Baltimore is opening a branch in the MD suburbs. DGS is a different sort of animal.

                          But the smoked meats -- corned beef and pastrami -- are really, really good. The sandwiches just aren't Carnegie Deli-sized, which of course some people have complained about. 8<D The chopped liver is also outstanding. They offer a Reuben, which was very good. (so not kosher


                          After two visits, i have found the food to be very good and the portions, for me, more than adequate. You just won't feel like you walked into your family's favorite deli circa 1965.

                          1. re: Bob W

                            I don't need a huge sandwich, by any means. But I do like a regular pastrami as opposed to extra lean.

                            1. re: wincountrygirl

                              Hey, if I'm going to eat pastrami, there better be some nice glistening fat on it! Since i eat deli so rarely anymore, when I do I try to do it right.

                            2. re: Bob W

                              I am pleased, actually, to be able to get not such a huge sandwich.

                              1. re: Jay F

                                <edited> I agree, huge portions seem to be pervasive in that typology and frankly, today a bad marketing move. I have been to some of these places and a sandwich that can no longer be eaten with hands is no longer a sandwich and is not easily transported. if they would offer a choice between a $16 honking big full-lb sit-down version with leftovers, and a 1/3 lb portable version, I'd happily pay $8 (read that price ratio - profit!) for the smaller. just please gimme a choice.

                                I love good pastrami and corned beef, just not a pound at a time piled between two pieces of rye, yeah it's good, but I know it's going to be wasted, so I balk and just get a few knish and maybe a rugelach. or if they just sold the sandwich by the pound and have the customer gesture the desired thickness, that might solve a lot of issues on both sides of the counter.

                                sadly, it does seem to be a disappearing sort of place.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  And yet, the simple hamburger manages to stand the test of time. You can buy a hamburger prepared big or small, fast food chain, mom & pop joint, places that boast of special meat blends, loaded with toppings, capped off with a shake and fries...at every price point. New burger places open all the time. Hamburgers aren't known for being the healthiest choice and we adore them. The same prices you pay for pastrami you now pay for a burger.

                                  What gives?

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I don't think that health factors alone explain this - because while the Jewish deli may be dying, bacon on everything appears to be gaining life.

                                    What I think is a greater issue is the price point of the sandwiches combined with the ambiance. The prices of many delis simply no longer qualifies as a "great deal for lunch". Also most deli environments don't really work as a fancy enough setting for a business lunch. Because most of the places that have the $16 burger (or $10 burger) look far more formal than places with the $16 pastrami. Fastfood and diner burgers do not cost that much.

                                    Combine this with the notion that the sandwiches are perhaps bigger than the size you want - I think that's an easier explanation for the drift away from the deli than rather than straight up health reasons.

                                    Also - the burger has evolved a lot since the 50's. There are now veggie burgers as well as non-beef meat burgers. There are absurd luxury burgers. There have been changes to toppings. There have been changes to buns/bread - going as far as places offering burgers served on lettuce/no carb/no glueten options. The pastrami sandwich....can't really say so much, though I'm sure there are some valliant vegetarians/vegas at non-Jewish delis who've come up with their own Rubens n such.

                                    1. re: cresyd

                                      Cochon Butcher in New Orleans makes an eggplant reuben. We gave it a try on our NOLA visit last year, and like everything else there, it was excellent. This place has such amazing meats, it's to their credit that they offer a veggie option.

                                      DGS also offers an eggplant reuben. Haven't tried theirs yet.

                                      Regarding portion size -- sandwiches such as those offered by places like the Carnegie deli could probably provide me with four meals. I don't want to buy four of the same meals at once. I want to buy one meal at a time, and not have to worry about using leftovers (unless its chinese food, which as we all know makes great leftovers for the most part).

                                      1. re: Bob W

                                        You got it, Bob. Who wants a four-meal sandwich?

                                        1. re: Jay F

                                          And I doubt the Carnegie would look kindly on four people ordering one sandwich and one knish. 8<D

                                          1. re: Bob W

                                            Funny that, Bob W. Shared portions are encouraged by the waitstaff so that line of thinking is not at all what I've encountered. Nor do I believe my eating habits are typical of deli customers judging by the enormous platters being enjoyed by fellow table customers.

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              I usually share a corned beef sandwich with one person. That much I'm willing to eat in one sitting.

                                          2. re: Bob W

                                            Cochon has a veggie option?! HA! thx for the chuckle of the evening!

                                            1. re: hill food

                                              I know, right? It's a brilliant move, I'd say.

                                          3. re: cresyd

                                            Actually my health factor comment was only one of many in my attempt at an analogy. People are paying good money for large burgers easily for $16.00.

                                            And while the point can be made that burgers have come of age, as well as fried chicken, hotdogs and even salads...I still wonder why the deli (which is a place you can order burgers, hotdogs, fried chicken and salads) gets less support (from some).

                                            Big portions abound and are touted as big values for the dining dollar. I don't actually understand that line of thinking (that deli portions are turning people off) when folks are paying top dollar for other food experiences (like NY steak houses, upper tier sushi, brunch).

                                            I still support delis. I can go with 3 pals and share an entree or take home leftovers. I still (like many) enjoy the experience, the hustle bustle. I don't happen to feel cheated on price at a deli.

                                            We complain that x place wasn't a great value for the price/amount of food and then we also complain that x place gave us too much of a good thing.

                                            Poor deli man! It's an interesting dilemma.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              I think part of the problem does remain price - for the ambiance of most Jewish delis - I do think the price for the complete experience remains a problem. I don't know of too many straight up diner environments that get away with a $16 hamburger. "Evolved" or inauthentic delis that cater to a dinner/drinks crowd with less florescent lighting probably have an easier sell.

                                              Where I think the Jewish deli has missed a major "trend boat" is that I have seen a rising US trend in charcuterie and house-made or locally sourced cured meats. However, this has largely been in Italian cured meat traditions. I think there are lots of ways for Jewish deli traditions to be saved - but only if they want to change.

                                              I think one quick anecdotal way to demonstrate the waining general interest in the Jewish deli as-is is just how few people are commenting on this thread. Some of us here have a lot to say - but it feels like a conversation of the passionate where the "masses" are just disinterested.

                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                cresyd, again you hit on some very valid points. Anyone with a shrug attitude doesn't change my mind one way or another. We've got a handful of comments here against the actual deli customer "out there." I was in a NJ deli about 3 months ago. Packed room, bakery was busy and the catering business I know first hand is still doing well and none of it is inexpensive.

                                                What I need to consistently remind myself is what a slice of life CH is; not the entire pie.

                                                Hey, thanks for shooting the breeze with me. I really enjoyed it.

                                        2. re: hill food

                                          I really don't get this huge potion thing. If you don't want so much eat what you want and take the rest home.

                                          1. re: wincountrygirl

                                            What if "home" is a hotel with no fridge?

                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                              then you don't need to ask for the doggy bag....

                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                Good grief, really? Thanks fourunder........... I think you miss my point monkey

                                                1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                  I get your point, but if you're in town for a brief visit, eating alone and want a nosh you don't want to be lugging half-eaten leftovers around to meetings. and even if the room has a fridge, far too often they're 'smart' and will charge you if you even disturb the pre-stocked $6 bag of peanuts or $10 shot of scotch. arggh, just sell a smaller version already and I'm there. if I'm in NYC I'll just grab a slice or a bagel with a schmear rather than that.

                                                2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                  In SF after getting some pretty big sandwiches both my wife and I left half of the sandwich untouched. We got the leftover to go and gave them away to two homeless folks (I asked them first if they wanted/minded me giving it to them and they both said not at all and thanks). Just one idea if you are in a "larger" city with homeless on the street.

                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                    Servorg - I found in SF the homeless are very appreciative of leftovers and have rather sophisticated palates. once: "do you like Thai food? it's Larb Gai" "oh hell yeah! with galangal?"

                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                      All I can tell you is that we gave away two half sandwiches in about 5 minutes of leaving the restaurant on our walk back to our hotel, and both the man and the woman who took them said thank you...YMMV (and again, just a suggestion of what to do with too big a sandwich and no real place to keep them fresh).

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        I've tried doing that in DC. Both times, the food was refused because (a) the person "can't eat that stuff" or (b) wanted money.

                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                          Unfortunately SF has a huge population of homeless in the downtown area, so if the first two people we approached on our walk had refused we would have had quite a few others to ask...

                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                            three's a charm....you give up too easily.

                                                3. re: hill food

                                                  While I know the famous NYC delis (Carnegie, Katz's) may have always featured humongoid size portions, I do not recall that being true of most delis when I was growing up. It seems to me that delis have become a caricature of their image, serving ridiculously huge sandwiches and softball-size matzoh balls.

                                                  Just as other restaurants in more recent years have adjusted portion-size downward, why couldn't delis?

                                                  1. re: masha

                                                    It's a Jewish thing. Don't let your guests leave the table hungry.
                                                    I think Italians are the same way.

                                                    1. re: mucho gordo

                                                      I get that. I'm not suggesting that delis go to a small plate format but many could halve the size of their sandwiches and the portion size would still be ample. To pick up on your analogy with Italian customs, it seems to me that many thriving Italian restaurants (at least in Chicago, where I now live) have cut back on the "abondanza" size portions that were common 20 years ago. I'm not talking about petite portions -- just something a bit more realistic.

                                                      And, just to follow up on my matzoh ball comment, am I the only one who loathes the delis that serve one large matzoh ball that occupies practically the entirety of the bowl, rather than serving 2 or 3 smaller ones?

                                                      1. re: masha

                                                        Regarding the matzoh balls; I would think it is more efficient and less time consuming for the chef to make 100 big ones than several hundred smaller ones.

                                                        1. re: mucho gordo

                                                          We just split the large matzoh ball into four pieces and enjoy. We usually enjoy the matzoh balls more than the broth. Ever order them without the soup?

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            They are the best part. There are a few reasons why I don't eat soup any more.

                                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                                              <There are a few reasons why I don't eat soup any more.>

                                                              Care to share? I've never heard of anyone avoiding such a large, delicious food group.

                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                Primary reason is a hand tremor that dumps the spoonful all over the place so it arrives at my lips empty.

                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                    I can control it to a certain extent by gripping the spoon in my fist, instead of holding it daintily, and steadying the hand by gripping my wrist with the other hand. But, why bother?

                                                                  2. re: mucho gordo

                                                                    a straw? ask the same portion be served simultaneously in several mugs?

                                                                    I have a slight 'familial tremor' for which no apologies are made, only reasonable requests. although yes, there are some foods I avoid in public.

                                                                    that honkin' big matzoh ball - ugh, the sight is off-putting. IMHO the surface to content ratio is all wrong (meaning it's hard getting that good schmaltzy broth all soaked into the dough just right).

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      can I use both hands to bring the bowl up to my lips in public?

                                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                        If you like miso soup you are in luck...

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          oh yes, bowl with hands? that's standard practice in many cultures. and just easier anyway. I think Miss Manners would give you a pass as long as you're tidy about it. if anyone asks, murmur something wistful about thoughts of longed-for days in (fill in the blank). sometimes strict Western table manners can be jettisoned for practicality, just not pretensions. I do find myself opting for fork/knife or chopstick foods quite often.

                                                                          although your tactic of 2-fisted spooning reminds me once again of a scene in "Barfly" where an old rummy has the shakes so bad he ties a handkerchief around one wrist and uses his neck as a pulley to hoist his (intact) shot up to his mouth.

                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                            I can just picture that scene and me trying to do it. No DT's here but it should work. <G>. As for Western table manners, I jettison them when I grab the utensil in an unorthodox manner

                                                                        2. re: mucho gordo

                                                                          mucho, what happens in Summerlin, stays in Summerlin..:)

                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                            except, now the whole world knows.

                                                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                              Your secrets are safe from Burkina Faso, Chad, and Myanmar.

                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                I'd best cancel my trip to those places,

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  I've pretty much stopped ordering matzoh ball soup in restaurants as none really measures up to my mother's and I'm blessed that she is still around and cooking. So I get my fix when I visit her. The only place where I order mb soup in Chicago is when I am someone's guest at the Standard Club, as their's is pretty good and with reasonably sized matzoh balls. Cannot really wrap my head around eating the mbs without the soup.

                                                                  1. re: masha

                                                                    You're lucky!

                                                                    I'm planning to see the off-Broadway play, Old Jews Telling Jokes at the end of the month and then heading with hubby to a NY deli (haven't decided which one yet) but if the weather is still chilly I'll be sure to order soup.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      Maybe they will tell this one:

                                                                      Guy at a table in a deli sitting in front of a bowl of chicken soup. He calls to the waiter, "Waiter, taste this soup!"

                                                                      Waiter comes over, goes to taste the soup, says, "There's no spoon."


                                                                      1. re: Bob W

                                                                        Which brings to mind:

                                                                        "A man entered a restaurant and sat at the only open table. As he sat down, he knocked the spoon off the table with his elbow. A nearby waiter reached into his shirt pocket, pulled out a clean spoon, and set it on the table. The diner was impressed. "Do all the waiters here carry spoons in their pockets?"

                                                                        The waiter replied, "Yes. Ever since an Efficiency Expert visited our restaurant... He determined that 17.8% of our diners knock the spoon off the table. By carrying clean spoons with us, we save trips to the kitchen."

                                                                        The diner ate his meal. As he was paying the waiter, he commented, "Forgive the intrusion, but do you know that you have a string hanging from your fly?"

                                                                        The waiter replied, "Yes, we all do. Seems that the same Efficiency Expert determined that we spend to much time washing our hands after using the men's room. So, the other end of that string is tied to my penis. When I need to go, I simply pull the string, do my thing, and then return to work. Having never touched myself, there really is no need to wash my hands. Saves a lot of time."

                                                                        "Wait a minute," said the diner, "how do you get your penis back in your pants?"

                                                                        "Well, I don't know about the other guys, but I use the spoon."

                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                          You both should go to the show!

                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                            Too busy using my hands and drinking my soup from the bowl...

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              Many thanks -- my version of that joke was considerably abbreviated, of course. A stand-up comic like Servorg would have the diner saying "Taste this soup!" and the waiter saying, "Can I bring you something else? What's the problem?" several times before the waiter finally says, "There's no spoon."

                                                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                                                There's a scene in Coming to America where Eddie Murphy (playing an old Jewish man) tells it.

                                                                                  1. re: DoobieWah

                                                                                    I guess you didn't see my post above, DoobieW. Have you seen the show? I'm going again this month.

                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                      No I haven't seen the show, but the website has been around for years.

                                                            2. re: hill food

                                                              Went to Katz's yesterday for a splurge. The sandwich was huge and there must have been a pound of meat on it. Guess what, I took half home. Problem solved.

                                                        2. re: Jay F

                                                          In the past decade, DC has welcomed a lot of transplants who are into trendy food and are health-conscious. You still have the expense account steakhouse crowd, but most of the restaurant growth has been in trendy small plate eateries, cupcakeries, wine bars. Translation: smaller, more expensive portions of increasingly precious "wistful" interpretations of classic dishes.

                                              2. Katz's and the Second Avenue Deli have not closed (from the article you might think they have), though the latter has moved from Second Avenue.

                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                      Thanks for that. I really enjoyed watching it.

                                                      1. re: fourunder

                                                        Great video. It's called a trailer. Is there more?

                                                        1. re: John Francis

                                                          Yes, documentary was suppose to come out in November. I don't know the status of the release but this is the 3rd doc by the filmmaker.


                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            Thanks, I'll look for it. More, more!

                                                          2. re: John Francis

                                                            Starting around the 1 minute mark they are featuring Kenny & Ziggy's, one of my very favorite restaurants here in Houston.

                                                            Love it, love it, love it.

                                                            Edited to add: I wrote the above before I watched the whole thing and realized that were actually featuring Kenny & Ziggy's.

                                                            Rock on Mr. Gruber!

                                                          3. re: fourunder

                                                            Thanks, 4under, enjoyed it, and now I'm craving pastrami.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              Pittsburgh used to be a nice place for deli. We had Weinstein's and Iz Cohen in Squirrel Hill, the Gazebo in Shadyside, and Cantor's in Oakland. But that was the '70s.

                                                              I went away, and came back in 2000. All of those places were gone. Weinstein's, which burned down in a fire, was now a bank. The Gazebo was a Chinese restaurant--a pretty good one, but a Chinese restaurant. And I can't quite remember which side street off Forbes was home to Cantor's. I think it's a not-very good pizza place now.

                                                              Iz Cohen was now called Kazansky's, and it was a deli, but not a very good deli. Plus it always looked dirty. Then Kazansky's closed and an Indian restaurant opened. Whoop-de-doo.

                                                              Sometime during the '00s, two guys opened a place called Smallman Street Deli, on Smallman Street in the Strip District. They tagged it "Deli the Way It Used to Be." Which was true, foodwise. Excellent food.

                                                              Their second store, which they opened later in Squirrel Hill, isn't very "Deli the Way It Used to Be" when it comes to atmosphere, though. Instead of a full-service restaurant, it's a order-and-pay-at-the-counter, take-a-number, get a drink in a styrofoam or plastic cup (or in a bottle, from the drinks case), and go sit down and wait for your food.

                                                              They make the food, they bring it over, it's excellent food. I have no complaints. I just wish it really could be Deli the Way I Remember It Used to Be.

                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                I just wish it really could be Deli the Way I Remember It Used to Be.
                                                                Me too. 99% of the NJ delis of my youth are all gone. The Russian side of my family tree that grew up in deli neighborhoods is nearly all gone. My kids don't even think about delis when they grab a sandwich. Every now and then I walk into a NY or LA deli just to have the fabulous food smells transport me....then I order a chopped liver & egg!

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  Some fantastic delis in Toronto too.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    Agreed about Toronto.

                                                                    And, of course, in Montreal, the North American birthplace of smoked meat.

                                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                                  I think the delis in Pgh went the same way as the Jewish bakeries went. I was born and raised in Pgh,left and returned for a visit and found them all gone. Sad.

                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                      Definitly the Waldorf Bakery! I was so surprised to see it gone. I think another one was Rosenbaums or blooms? Both long gone. Their Jewish rye bread was wonderful.

                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                    Jay, as you probably know from our board, I've lived in PGH all my life. I would love to know if there is a deli like Katz's around here, where the pastrami is cut thick with the fat cap still on? Is there anywhere like that? I've been to nearly every deli and sandwich shop in the area - smallman st, max's, allegheny, fatheads, etc. - and they all serve deli pastrami, sliced thin, like you'd get at the GE deli counter. Is there anywhere near us that sells real pastrami sandwiches?

                                                                    (I will attest to the Reuben at max's, though. That's a good sandwich.)

                                                                    1. re: MonMauler

                                                                      You know, MM, maybe if you were to call Jeff Cohen at Smallman Street and have him take care of you personally, you could get what you want. He seems like a genuinely nice storekeeper. Tell him you're holding him to his "Deli the Way It Used to Be" promise. The Squirrel Hill number is 412-421-3354.

                                                                      I wonder if you've tried the brisket sandwich at Union Pig and Chicken (I assume it's beef). It was just such a slab as you describe, maybe a half-inch thick. It comes with slivers of red onion (raw), Pommery-looking mustard, drips of some white sauce, and an excellent table sauce in a squeeze bottle.

                                                                      I've not been able to get it completely out of my mind since I ate there last Monday (the only reason I haven't gone back is I've had the flu/bronchitis/whatever since last Tuesday--all I can stomach is soup and sorbet). It might fill that pastrami-sized hole in your appetite.

                                                                      1. re: Jay F


                                                                        I'll definitely call Jeff Cohen. I really appreciate the suggestion.

                                                                        I have been to UP&C close to a dozen times. It is definitely the best BBQ in Pittsburgh. The brisket is pretty good but no substitute for real quality pastrami. I do, however, like the thin East Carolina sauce they serve. It's pretty good. So are many of their cocktails. That said, I'm not nearly as enthralled with UP&C as you, indicated as much on our local board. It is good food, but BBQ is more "real" (that's the best way I can describe it), cooked more properly, and tastier at many places in the Carolina's, near Memphis, and in Texas, for sure. Kevin Sousa tries to run a straight edge between all these various styles, and it's super tasty. He's a great chef and pulls it off admirably. But UP&C is BBQ like I've had BBQ in Sweden, meaning that it is meat cooked over an open flame.

                                                                  2. re: HillJ

                                                                    I'm reading this book right now. It's making me sad - but it also gave me a couple of ideas for playing around in the kitchen. Reuben pastries anyone?

                                                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                                                      Sad in a good way, I hope....I miss great delis too.

                                                                      My Uncle passed his copy on to me. He's a big deli lover from way back and his Dad, my Grandfather, was very loyal to neighborhood deli's. He'd bring pastrami from Brooklyn to NJ when he visited us on the weekends insisting we couldn't get the good stuff. I have so many memories tied to these men of deli love that the book made me stop and start many times.

                                                                      Long live the deli man.

                                                                  3. Kenny & Zuke's in Portland is fantastic. They make their own bagels, rye, pickles, pastrami.

                                                                    Re the article: I'm disgusted by all the ugly anti-Semitic rantings.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Leonardo

                                                                      I didn't even read the comments because of what I knew I would find there.

                                                                      1. re: Leonardo

                                                                        Kenny & Zuke's has been on my list for years.

                                                                        Hopefully soon when/if I get to Portland.

                                                                      2. The Star Deli in Southfield Michigan is doing ok.

                                                                        1. We read the article in the LA Times yesterday and decided Langers sounded like a great idea. We made the journey.

                                                                          The place was packed with young and 'not so young', hipster and child. Actually, the line was out the door and around the corner. We were seated, waited on quickly & ordered our usual #19 and #1 with a side of kishka and a loaf of their famous rye to go.

                                                                          No, it's not a sandwich or the type of food most people of the present generation are eating everyday. However, when the need and the craving is there I want the best pastrami sandwich available.
                                                                          Long live the Jewish Deli.

                                                                          1. I understand delis evolving to meet new customer demands, but two things I don't particularly care for: (1) extra lean flavorless corned beef that's (2) sliced paper thin. The stuff turns into paste in my mouth. Fortunately, there's still a deli near me that serves fatty corned beef sliced thick the way I like it.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                              I don't find "extra lean" flavorless, but ICAM about "sliced paper thin." That takes all the foodness out of it. Ack.

                                                                            2. How much of an effect has the dissolution of ethnic neighborhoods had on the Jewish Deli? Certainly neighborhoods which are predominately of one ethnicity still exist. However they become more integrated with every passing year. Jewish Deli had been a daily routine, as previously mentioned, now it is more a special treat. They could never return to their previous status and seemly can only survive providing a special experience/special food which would seem to suggest that a larger, rather than ethnic, customer base is required: that which is available in a major urban area. It does seem that newer generations have no knowledge of or desire for Deli special foods. While I am not Jewish and only crave some of the items offered at a Jewish Deli: I find that craving usually unsatisfied and do indeed lament the loss of the real thing.

                                                                              31 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                As I menion upthread, the Jewish deli really did respond to the needs of the Jewish community as they initially presented themselves. First catering to single immigrant Jewish men, and then families in 'Jewish' neighborhoods that sought after kosher/kosher-like food.

                                                                                In my grandmother's and mother's generations the Jewish deli was also a very affordable option. Using a Jewish deli 5 days a week for lunch was a cost effective option. Not even commenting on Katz's current $16 pastrami sandwich - but the costs of the Jewish deli no longer place them in the same price point as diners/fast food.

                                                                                Additionally, that style of eating when my mother was growing up was viewed as something you could do every day. These days with the ever growing size of the deli sandwich and basic trends in eating - it's just not "in vogue" for the masses to eat like that.

                                                                                My hope would be that some places would truly double down and stick very close to tradition. But that other places would try to innovate, evolve, and attract a broader dining audience.

                                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                                  Sadly, the same can be said of the access we had to Germany and Polish delis, on premise bakeries, cheese and butcher shops- which I also remember fondly. Which are also dwindling away.

                                                                                  I stepped foot in my first NY specialty market and PA International Food store 30 years ago and I felt the shift.

                                                                                  Use barrel pickles as a single example. You can buy what we associate with Jewish pickles in any number of stores today..but the change in where we shop/where we find these wonderful deli foods changed over decades. Aside from commercial food trends, caloric considerations, where you hail from, what your own background is, if you've ever had true Jewish deli playing a part, food in general has changed. Nearly every supermarket has at least one "international" food aisle. Foods original found in delis can be found in commercial grocery chains, but is it the same? I don't think so.

                                                                                  Delis that have stood the test of time now need to compete with grocery store delis and any number of places that make say a Reuben sandwich. Restaurant deli and take out only delis all had something incredibly special to offer. Well, special is a word incredibly diluted today.

                                                                                  What's getting diluted and lost is the history. Delis started it all. That's what some young folks are missing out on and don't even realize it. Certain food markers we grew up on, are dwindling away.

                                                                                  Just last week I bought barrel pickles at Costco. 10 in a plastic jar for about $6.00. Now going out for a barrel pickle was a day trip when I was a kid.

                                                                                  Deli food memories get diluted but the day they leave completely will be a sad day.

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    Shopping in the US has completely changed, and I do think in many ways that it's sad what's lost. But I'd rather see the tone and character of the deli change as a way to hold onto some of the memory.

                                                                                    The Eleven City Diner in Chicago - per my childhood Jewish deli experience - is not classic Jewish deli. But they embrace a lot of the feeling and old recipes. Also by gearing themselves away from lunch and into dinner, they sell alcohol which I believe is a huge help to most restaurant bottom lines.

                                                                                    There will be places that remain to preserve the classic memory - but I'd like to see more places try borrow from Eleven City Diner's playbook and try to change for the sake of sticking around at all.

                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                      cresyd, if you know the pride that comes with Jewish deli men, you'll know how hard the concept you're describing is for that style of deli.

                                                                                      Jewish deli restaurants and take out delis already struggle with the concept you describe. Heck these delis are tourist destination draws..on the tour bus schedule..on the food tour schedule. The last time I was in Murray's Cheese there were two bus loads of food tours going on.

                                                                                      Holding onto a family dynasty also means not diluting the essence that made it great. Generations of deli men (& women).

                                                                                      Knowing that, I'd rather see a new deli concept than a change to the current ones left standing.

                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                        I understand - but I feel that the Jewish deli is basically looking down the same barrel as the privately owned book store and other small businesses. A few stick around, but most don't.

                                                                                        Ultimately, I think it goes down to what you feel is worth preserving. To me, I like the idea of keeping some of essence of what was the early Jewish immigrant experience to the US. I completely respect that another view is "if you can't do it right, don't do it at all".

                                                                                        Personally, a huge part of my connections to Jewish delis are tied to how I experience growing up Jewish in the US. How I related to grandparents and how I was told about Jewish New Jersey when my mom was growing up. So to me, the Jewish deli is part of a greater memory and individual experience - and as such I'm happy if just echoes of that story remain.

                                                                                        I guess ultimately as is so often the case our food memories are sometimes just about amazing food and other times about a larger context. If I was left with the choice of Eleven City Diner replicas or nothing - I'd go Eleven City.

                                                                                        1. re: cresyd

                                                                                          What a great post. Very thoughtful. Although I wasn't born in the US much of my upbringing was, in NJ.

                                                                                          Perhaps some of our memories overlap. Reading your post sure sounded like familiar ground.

                                                                                          So while we may not have the same wish, it appears we share the love (of delis).

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                            My mom's upbringing was in that kind of Jewish community, but she raised my brother and I in the midwest. Which is a whole other basket of memories and experiences.

                                                                                            Either way, I wish the Jewish deli the best and I'm sure someone's will take the reigns of establishing an amazing Jewish deli museum one of these days.

                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                              With projects like the film Deli Man and numerous books on the subject, here's hoping a museum like the link below underscores the importance and rightful place.


                                                                                              and, here's an oldie but goodie:

                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                "Where Are All the Old Jewish Waiters?"


                                                                                                And from Esquire in 2000, "The Oldest Living Jewish Waiter": http://www.gq.com/food-travel/alan-ri...

                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                  I figure the deli would be an excellent candidate for a semi-living history treatment where visitors can see how cornbeef/pastrami was made, practice slicing the meat, etc.

                                                                                                  I was an anthropology major in university, and very into my one food anthropology class - so the overlap of food history and cultural history really interests me. All in all a very reminiscent topic for me today. And perhaps somewhat telling, I've enjoyed thinking about the memories associated with the Jewish deli a bit more than thinking "gee, I'd like a sandwich right now". I currently live in Jerusalem - city of no real Jewish delis - but I'm definitely not helping the survival rate.

                                                                                            2. re: cresyd

                                                                                              Old school delis need to get on the twitter and embrace social media to get the young crowds in. To me, it's a no-brainer.

                                                                                              1. re: magic


                                                                                                they have, magic!

                                                                                                Don't discount the sons and daughters, grandchildren of these deli men and women who take great pride in the decades of family ownership. Dynasty.

                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                  Outstanding! They ALL need to!

                                                                                                  There is SO much for potential for delis to be considered cool. In Toronto they very much are considered cool.

                                                                                                  Delis: Get on the GD Twitter!

                                                                                                  1. re: magic

                                                                                                    I'm heading to Toronto in August with my family. My younger son plans to attend Grad school there. Maybe he can GET ON IT :)

                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                      Oh right on!

                                                                                                      When here in August, if the deli mood should strike you or your son, check out:

                                                                                                      Centre St. Deli for smoked meat
                                                                                                      Caplansky's (soon to air on DDD)
                                                                                                      Yitz's for corned beef
                                                                                                      Pancers for corned beef
                                                                                                      United Bakers (for wonderful Dairy, incredible latkes)
                                                                                                      Ben and Izzy's Deli looks promising (opening soon!)

                                                                                                      Also, he'll be a 5 hour drive from Montreal. Schwartz's MUST be visited. MUST.

                                                                                                      (The James Beard winning "Save The Deli" was written by a Toronto native FWIW!)

                                                                                                      1. re: magic

                                                                                                        cutting & pasting for the travel log, thanks magic!

                                                                                                        (The James Beard winning "Save The Deli" was written by a Toronto native FWIW!)
                                                                                                        yes, I did know that. http://www.savethedeli.com/about/
                                                                                                        he knows how to make deli cool!

                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                          You bet!

                                                                                                          Also note down Banh Mi Boys, Holy Chuck, Cafe Polonez, Hey Meatball (also on DDD), and St. Lawrence Market.

                                                                                                          Sorry to veer off track.

                                                                                                          1. re: magic

                                                                                                            I don't mind if the deli crowd doesn't. Thank you! Scribbling away here!

                                                                                      2. re: cresyd

                                                                                        Price is a big reason. A sandwich is a sandwich, but when you can get one for $5.00, (and you don't care about kosher or quality) most will opt for Subway.

                                                                                        1. re: joaniesl

                                                                                          It takes a lot for me to spend money on a sandwich in a restaurant, when I could do such a better job at home.

                                                                                          Since there's so little filling in a Subway sandwich, it isn't worth $5 to me. And it's certainly not worthy of the name "sandwich." I think I've eaten there four times: once during a snowstorm and nothing else was open, and two or three times going-along-to-get-along in strange neighborhoods with friends.

                                                                                          If I'm actually going to spend money on a sandwich out, I'd rather spend twice that and get an actual sandwich, something that represents value for my money.

                                                                                          I can't afford to eat at Subway.

                                                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                                                            Ugh. Subway barely counts as food: flavorless "fresh baked" bread, skimpy toppings, D-grade extruded meat-flavored rectums, snouts, and peckers. All with that abominable "Subway smell." If Hitler were a sandwich, he'd be a Subway sandwich.

                                                                                          2. re: joaniesl

                                                                                            (and you don't care about kosher or quality) most will opt for Subway.
                                                                                            pretty brave statement in a thread about quality delis. I have never eaten at a Subway but I've walked out twice just watching sandwiches getting made.

                                                                                            1. re: joaniesl

                                                                                              There is no way you can compare a deli to a fast food place like subway; two totally different types.

                                                                                          3. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                            As demographics change, the urban Jewish deli has gradually given way to the suburban Jewish deli. Much of the Jewish community in DC and Baltimore gradually moved to the suburbs and took their delis with them to Potomac, Bethesda, Rockville, Wheaton, and Pikesville. 

                                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                              I lived in DC until 1999. I don't remember many delis in Montgomery County. Parkway Deli in SS, and one in Rockville. That's about it.

                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                Woodside Deli has two locations. There's also Max's in Wheaton. Attman's is opening a shop in Potomac because they do so much catering business there.

                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                  Attman's is very much the poster child as a remnant of a once thriving Jewish neighborhood as asked by Bacchus upstream. (you lucky dogs! getting an outpost so close. killer fatty corned beef sliced fresh in front of you and all. oh and "health salads" that are anything but, it's like living in a moment written by Philip Roth!) David's in SF is another one (although it has slipped and was always 'Jewish/Kosher-style')

                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                    Funny thing, Attman's opened a branch in Pikesville (the suburb where all the Jews in Baltimore went) in the 1980s, but couldn't maintain it. A corned beef or pastrami sandwich at Attman's costs about $7 (according to the web page). Out in Pikesville and Owings Mills, there's Miller's and Lenny's who sell corned beef and pastrami sandwiches for about $8. Lenny's has actually opened a place on Lombard Street in the ld neighbirhood near Attman's. Then there are the kosher places, but there'smore expensive by definition.

                                                                                              2. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                The move of delis from the cities to the suburbs was a post WWII phenomenon. The more recent phenomenon, as HillJ observed upthread, is the "gourmet" aisles of the supermarket replacing specialty ethnic shops.

                                                                                                Purely anecdotal evidence here: I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Baltimore County. Mandels was our regular deli -- visited at least once a week for carryout corned beef, pastrami, and pickles from the barrel, with a stop at the local Jewish baker (Silbers) for rye bread, challah, etc. Flash-forward decades and my mother, who still resides in northwest Balto. County, buys all of those items from her Giant supermarket.

                                                                                              3. re: Bacchus101

                                                                                                Here in Pittsburgh, the reform and conservative Jews who made up much of the population a generation ago in Squirrel Hill have been replaced in large measure by orthodox Jews, who won't eat out unless a place is strictly Kosher, and most of the delis are (and were) only Kosher *style*.

                                                                                                Almost all you see now in Squirrel Hill are Asian restaurants of various denominations. We just had a ramen restaurant open. Whoop de doo.

                                                                                              4. A pity, especially from a nostalgia standpoint. We ate HUGE amounts of deli every Sunday night at my grandparents when I was a little girl. I mean, looking back what we consumed as a family was gross! Being that I was picky-picky, they always cut the corned beef for "Dollface" extra, extra lean and, when we would eat in "our deli", they always let me behind the counter and would give me schnibbles of this and that if we had to wait for a table.
                                                                                                I don't know if times changed, the economy changed, the management changed, but suddenly the dining in was never as good as it had been. The place seemed dirty/dingy. The staff was surly and unfriendly. The food wasn't as good. The take-our orders started getting messed up and my father would call to let them know and they weren't nice. And then...they stayed open during Passover! Well, my father and grandfather just couldn't believe it. It was a shanda! We stopped going. But I think was the overall demise of the experience that really did it. Apparently a lot of the old-timers stopped going, too.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: MRS

                                                                                                  they were open during Passover? even this goy is a little disturbed by that. it'd be like serving lamb on Good Friday to a Christian...

                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                    Yup! For the entire time.My father and grandfather were small business/family business owners so they grasped needing to make every $ you can, but still. It just didn't sit well.
                                                                                                    Hill food, you're funny. Maybe you're not as goy as you think.

                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                    A good read.

                                                                                                    I have no problems when corned beef or smoked meat (Canada's answer to pastrami) is produced largely in a production facility according to the owner's recipe specs. If it's good, who cares! Centre St. Deli in Toronto does their smoked meat this way I’m fairly certain, but I care not. It's damn delicious.

                                                                                                    Schwartz’s in Montreal still does everything in house (as far as I know). And has done so for over 80 years. Also a great product.

                                                                                                    Room for all and everyone. As long as it's good I'm there.

                                                                                                    1. re: magic

                                                                                                      I enjoyed the article too. It's from 2012 but offers some terrific insights.

                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        Absolutely it does.

                                                                                                        I was recently at Zingerman's, mentioned in that article. I loved absolutely everything about that place - except the deli meats! Haha. I wasn't thrilled with my pastrami. But I'd give it another shot.

                                                                                                        Everything else was awesome. Amazing staff. Beautiful food and place. A must-visit if ever in Ann Arbor!

                                                                                                  2. Honestly, who cares. I never go to these places by choice, and I've never walked out of one without feeling totally ripped off. $12 for a mealy corned beef sandwich, $3 for a slab-o-grease they call a potato pancake, $6 for a bowl of bland chicken soup with a wad of dough in it. I find this style of restaurant to be seriously overrated.

                                                                                                    Maybe someone's Jewish grandmother out there knows how to make tasty versions of these foods, but not having a Jewish grandmother myself, I wouldn't know. Nostalgia, charm and character only get you so far if the food is both bad and expensive.

                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                      It's obvious you have a very sophisticated palate and shouldn't go near a deli but, for the millions of us with ordinary taste buds, it is a lamentable situation.

                                                                                                      1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                        Please continue to stay away in the same droves in which you are already staying away.

                                                                                                        1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                          It is unfortunate that you have never had the "real deal". If you had, you would not have posted what you did.

                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                            What would you consider to be the real deal.

                                                                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                              Food so good you encourage others to enjoy it.

                                                                                                            2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                              Thank you Veggo, my response would have been less kind. I love kosher deli. There are good ones, not so good ones, and yes, they are more expensive than a conventional deli. RealMen - so don't go. Too bad you never had good deli, or potato latkes.

                                                                                                            3. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                              maybe you haven't been to some of the better ones. mediocrity can be found easily. too easily and often. (sorta the point of CH IMHO)

                                                                                                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                Perhaps you're not going to the right places for Jewish deli or your palate doesn't fair well with the food.

                                                                                                                Either way, we've been known to travel for a dinner at The French Laundry and then turn around the next day and eat a pastrami on rye at Langer's with a side of Kishka. You're right, though, having a grandmother who stretched the dough for strudel and ground her own handpicked fish for gefilte fish adds to the nostalgia when eating it.
                                                                                                                It's comforting Jewish food. Food we were raised with.
                                                                                                                Some of us can't imagine a world without it.

                                                                                                                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                  Wad of dough? Even the heaviest sinker is not that bad. Where did you eat this crap?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                    Manny's in Chicago, and Shapiro's in Indianapolis.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                      <Wad of dough>

                                                                                                                      LOL. I have never heard it referred to that way...

                                                                                                                    2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                      To each their own, etc etc etc - but I do have to agree about the soup.

                                                                                                                      I have never had matzoh ball soup in a Jewish deli that came anywhere near what I've had in people's homes. Even my home, and I do not value my matzoh ball's at a very high level. And to make matters worse, I find deli soups to have a primarly flavor of salt and not really taste at all of chicken.

                                                                                                                      That being said, all of these conversations makes the idea of briskey sound really good right about now.

                                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                        I use kosher chicken for my soup, which, of course, has much more flavor.
                                                                                                                        Every deli uses their own recipe for their matzo balls, some better than others, I have to admit, though, the soup at Langer's here in LA isn't the greatest but their matzo balls are fabulous.
                                                                                                                        Then, we all have our own subjective idea of what makes a 'great matzo ball'.
                                                                                                                        I prefer mine light and airy and the next person prefers golf balls.

                                                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                          I like mine light and airy too, but I know many people who prefer them "meatier" and denser.

                                                                                                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                            The only proper matzah ballrecipe can be found on the package of Manaschevitz matah meal:

                                                                                                                            1/2 cup matza meal
                                                                                                                            2 eggs
                                                                                                                            2 Tbsp oil
                                                                                                                            2 tsbp water of stock (or the chicken soup you;re going to serve with the matzah balls)

                                                                                                                            Beat the eggs with the oil. Add the matza meal and mix. Then add the stock and a pinch of salt. Let sit on the firdge for 15 minutes or so.

                                                                                                                            Boil a pot of slightly salted water. Moisten your hands and form balls from the mix approximately the size of a walnut and drop in the boiling water. They will sink and then float to the top. Cover the pot and simmer for at least 30 minutes. I keep them in the hot water until ready to add to the soup,ut I suppose you could just dump them in the soup when they're cooked. When I use this recipes, they're always light and fluffy.

                                                                                                                      2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                        this is far late, but I was sorta trolling things for which Veggo had comments. RMJulienne: without a Jewish grandmother, one needs to BE the Jewish grandmother.

                                                                                                                        me? I got a pot a schmaltz in the freezer. like anyone cares.

                                                                                                                      3. I propose this reply to Mucho's query: More than any other type of eatery, a Jewish Deli is a celebration. It may be uproarious or sedate, but it's a celebration. It's an island of Jewish food and culture in a non-Jewish ocean. Even in a mixed J/non-J ocean, it functions similarly, because it's a Concentration. At a Thai place or an Indian place, yeah, there's an ethnic feel and some posters to augment the food experience, but that ain't the same. The analogy that occurs is attendance at an Octoberfest. It ain't just the sausage & bun, it's the schooners of beer and the oompah band and the Chicken Dance.... AND...as the number of prospective Celebrants drops, as Assimilation proceeds, there ain't no market for true Jewish Delis. The Stars Deli on Lexington used to be fabulous: great food, sarcastic waiters, loud countermen, clattering dishes, bumping, pushing patrons...Oy! Then one day I flew to NY in 1989 and, All Gone! Stars Deli was now Denny's with corned beef. Not literally, you understand, but from decor and ambiance and style perspectives.

                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: dickgrub

                                                                                                                          Quite an interesting observation: A concentration, a celebration well said. Yes, yes it is or was.

                                                                                                                            1. re: dickgrub

                                                                                                                              I'm no sociologist or social historian but it seems to me that the demise of the neighborhood Jewish deli is part of a larger demographic/ social shift that has witnessed the demise of a whole range of casual sit-down Formica-table topped restaurants, from the coffee shop (as that term was used 30 years ago, not Starbucks), the luncheonette counters at drug stores and five and dimes, and sit-down Howard Johnson's along the highways. In this fast food era, the remnants of those genres that have survived are largely Disney-fied exaggerations of the originals. So, whereas downtown Chicago used to have the wonderful Mallers deli on the 2nd floor of the Mallers Building, it now has Eleven City Diner.

                                                                                                                              1. re: masha

                                                                                                                                The same demographic shifts are responsible for the demise of the automat. Car-centric lifestyles gave rise to fastfood chains and tastes shifted away from unsophisticated fare to more upscale dining options.

                                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                  Oh we'll. thought it was posted somewhere!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                                                                                    Yep. I'm looking forward to seeing the completed film.

                                                                                                                              1. What??? The author of the linked article names one Jewish deli in LA that recently closed and refers to it as a "trend"???

                                                                                                                                I lived in LA for 23 years(moved out last fall). Yes, a couple of Jewish delis have closed during that time period, but I would hardly refer to it as a "trend".

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: 2chez mike

                                                                                                                                  Good!! They are disappearing in my area which is Westchester, NY, but I'm sure they're alive and well in Brooklyn!! I love them.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: 2chez mike

                                                                                                                                    There's one Jewish deli left in Pittsburgh. There used to be five.

                                                                                                                                  2. Totally off point, mucho, but what kind of dog is that? Looks kind of like my Ridgeback. Maybe I should throw in that I love Jewish deli's and we don't really have any around here anymore. I think we are getting a Ben's though.