Carnegie Deli may be shutting its doors at the year’s end, but New York’s Jewish delis are hardly on the decline.
A slew of new trendy, reservation-taking and line-grabbing restaurants in prestigious zip codes summons food lovers of all backgrounds, while a handful of New York’s old pastrami haunts are still going strong.
Growing up on Barney Greengrass and Murray’s Sturgeon Shop, brothers Zach and Alex Frankel opened their own ode to Jewish cuisine, Frankel’s Delicatessen & Appetizing, in Greenpoint this past spring.
Zach hopes his 21st-century deli continues the resurgence of Jewish cuisine in New York.
“We’re not trying to reinvent anything. ... This is the food we grew up eating, the food we always obsessed over,” Zach said.
He acknowledges the landmark status of many of New York’s tried and true Jewish eateries and hopes his family spot will one day become an institution as well.
“My favorite thing about delis in general is that you get people with strollers, hipsters, professionals, older people ... delis appeal to everyone,” Zach said.
Frankel’s isn’t the only trendy new restaurant to play on the deli theme. At the year-and-a-half-old Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co., another set of siblings, Julie and Will Horowitz, pay homage to their great-grandparents with a hoagie-like pastrami sandwich that even made its way to Governors Ball this year.
Of course, way before smoked meats were being slung out before Kanye sets, Katz’s Delicatessen was luring in New Yorkers and tourists alike with its loaded corned beef sandwiches.
“We have some of the best deli food you’re going to find in New York, and, by extension, the world,” said Jake Dell, the current owner of Katz’s, which opened in 1888. “It’s all cured and smoked the old-fashioned way.”
But what keeps New Yorkers, always ready for the next big thing, returning to Katz’s?
“I think delis in general are a wonderful tradition,” Dell said. “There’s a desire for nostalgia and to see how food was done 100-plus years ago, and reconnect to the old food traditions.”
Nearly 130 years after its opening, Katz’s is still going strong, shipping sandwich kits nationwide via online orders and planning its first expansion in over 100 years to Brooklyn’s DeKalb Market Hall in spring 2017.
“I think whether you grew up with the deli or whether it’s your first time, you feel this connection to history,” Dell said of eating at Katz’s. “Deli food has transcended being a Jewish food. ... Everyone can feel that connection because at the end of the day the food is that good.”
While the days to indulge at Carnegie are getting fewer, there are still plenty of renowned appetizing shops and delis throughout New York City to appease your knish and corned beef cravings.
Russ & Daughters Cafe
2nd Avenue Deli
Liebman’s Bronx Delicatessen and Catering
Mile End Delicatessen
Harry & Ida’s Meat & Supply Co.
Frankel’s Delicatessen & Appetizing