There’s a New York Deli in Manalapan, New Jersey as well as McAllen, Texas.
There’s even a New York Deli at the Waikiki Beach Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii. And “Mais Oui,” you can even enjoy New York deli sandwiches at Disneyland in Paris.
Years ago, I said “Sayonara” to New York for awhile to live and work in Tokyo. During that period, when Japan was exporting tons of its electronic gadgets to New York, an entrepreneurial woman by the name of Annie Dinkins was importing New York brisket to Japan for her authentic New York-style Tokyo deli-restaurant. Getting people to put down their sushi and think deli was a challenge. It worked for many years. But alas, Annie Dinkins New York-style Tokyo Deli is long shut, but “Konichiwa-hello” think Disney again! Today, there’s a New York Deli serving up a glutenous New York menu within Japan’s popular Tokyo Disney theme-park!
So what else is ‘nu?’
In New York, the Carnegie Deli has reopened.The Stage Deli hasn’t. Yet.
By the way, while the Carnegie was shuttered, you could have headed west and visited the Carnegie Deli in Las Vegas. No mirage, it’s still at the Mirage Hotel. You can also get a New York deli-style corned beef piled high on rye in the mile-high city of Denver.
Heading south? “Shalom, y’all.” That’s what the The New York Times wrote when they recently recommended a Jewish delicatessen in Atlanta. And needless to say there’s no shortage of New York-style delicatessens in and around South Florida, including a branch in Boca Raton of my New York favorite, Ben’s Deli.
But fortunately you don’t have to leave the Big Apple to get your regular deli dose. Not to mention a dose of some of the most interesting deli waiters around. A recent visit to the Times Square-area’s Ben’s Deli proved that point. After our waiter served up our order of kasha varniskas and other deli delights, he pulled up a seat and joined us at our table for a lively and often funny conversation about the deli business. Our waiter was quite knowledgeable and entertaining, all of which was understandable considering he has worked as a waiter for almost thirty years at the aforementioned Carnegie and Stage delis where he says he has served everyone from Billy Crystal and Madeline Albright to Joan Rivers and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Our waiter was literally a book load of delightful deli stories. “You should write a book,” I said. “I’m working on my “Deli Diaries,” he answered.
Just try to get a deli waiter in Paris or Las Vegas to top a real New York character waiter!
Internationally speaking, the name “New York Deli” is synonymous with a taste and dining experience that we’re privileged to call our own. There’s a delicious documentary that you should see called “Deli Man.” It entertainingly focuses on some of the people, places and experiences of the folks behind, and in front of the slicing machines. While the film includes some well-known deli fanatics like Larry King and Jerry Stiller, the movie creatively invites the viewer into the deli life of Ziggy Gruber who has run a New York-style delicatessen in Houston, Texas for over 15 years.
Some say the New York deli business is slowing down due to high rents and aging customers. Yet out of New York City, from Vegas to Paris to Tokyo, the name “New York Deli” is synonymous with a taste and dining experience that we’re fortunate to call our own, and still enjoy.
Of course, from the Carnegie to Katz’s to Ben’s, if New York isn’t synonymous with delicatessen, I’ll eat my brisket. From New York to wherever your travels take you, it appears that the aroma of the New York deli experience will be there to keep you in deli cuisine heaven.