Jay Parker didn’t think he’d be in the family business, but 35 years ago he took over this well-known Kosher deli from his father. At 96-40 Queens Blvd., Ben’s Best takes pride in their hand-made pastramis and corn beef and in their reputation as a go-to spot for dining in, taking out and catering.
“We’re deli history,” Parker said. “That’s why we’re still here. It’s a unique product and if you like the product you can only get it in one place.”
Two years ago the deli was featured on The Food Network’s “Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives” show and will soon be featured again in an upcoming documentary, “Deli Man.”
What’s kept your biz going for so long?
It’s a very simple principle: My grandfather told me that during The Great Depression, the best doctors, lawyers and stockbrokers still made money, so if you want to have an insurance policy about continuing your success just be the best. That’s what we’ve always believed in. We’ve always tried to be the best at whatever products and service we give. We don’t look at people as customers, but friends.
What’s special about Rego Park?
It’s always been a great neighborhood. It’s not inexpensive but it’s not Manhattan prices either. If you want to bring up a family and are moving out of Manhattan, this is one of the places I would look at. I see younger families moving in now and there’s nobody on the street that I don’t know. I don’t think you can get any better than this.
How do you serve the community?
Rego Park has gotten younger and is more of a melting pot now but that hasn’t really affected the business. We cater for weddings, Bat Mitzvahs, Shiva and Rosh Hashanah. People depend on us. We give discounts at Rosh Hashanah because when you need it most we’ll sell it to you for the least. We give back to the community by donating to schools. And I’m involved in the Rego Park Jewish Center. We’re more than a business; we’re part of the fabric here.