Another Famous Delicatessen Slated to Close
I received an e-mail message earlier today from Kathy Kass of Will Run For Miles which alerted me to this article that she wrote today pertaining to the announcement of another famous delicatessen slated to close — and that delicatessen is Carnegie Deli.
You read that correctly: after 79 years in business, the vaunted Manhattan location of Carnegie Deli is going out of business on Saturday, December 31, 2016; but Carnegie Deli will still operate at its locations at Madison Square Garden and across the United States at casinos across the country and during the U.S. Open — as well as continue to sell its cheesecakes via the Internet.
Another Famous Delicatessen Slated to Close
This is the message which appears at the official Internet web site of Carnegie Deli:
Thank you for your loyal patronage throughout the years. However, we have very sad news. This is probably one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make. Carnegie Deli New York (854 7th Avenue) will close on December 31, 2016.
Our family-owned and operated meat processing facility and commercial bakery in NJ and other licensed locations throughout the country will operate to continue Carnegie Deli’s celebrated legacy.
We are so proud that we were able to reach an important milestone with the Deli’s 40th Anniversary in December 2016, since Milton Parker purchased the Deli in 1976 from the original owners. The Deli first opened in 1937.
Marian Harper — who is the owner of Carnegie Deli — announced the closure of what some people regard as an institution earlier today to her staff of approximately 25 employees who work the morning shift. She reportedly reached a stage — no pun intended in reference to the Stage Deli, which closed almost four years earlier — in her life where the long days from early in the morning to late at night have taken a toll and she needs to take a step back away from the sleepless nights and grueling hours which are inherent with operating a restaurant business in Manhattan.
By the time the location at 854 Seventh Avenue at West 55 Street closes, Harper will have celebrated 40 years at Carnegie Deli since her father purchased the business from its original owners in 1976.
Known for its overstuffed sandwiches, the delicatessen is technically not Kosher — it prepares and sells meat and dairy products in the same facility — but the quality of its food can usually match that of an authentic Kosher delicatessen. One famous example of an overstuffed sandwich is what is known as the Woody Allen — featured in the photograph at the top of this article — which is comprised of corned beef and pastrami piled high on rye bread slathered with spicy brown deli mustard for $29.99 plus tax.
The flagship location reopened on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 after it was closed for almost ten months after the embarrassing discovery by utility workers of Consolidated Edison that gas used for cooking had been stolen. The delicatessen was fined $2,600.00 by the Buildings Department of New York and ordered that gas service to the building be shut off until its pipes had been properly repaired and inspected — and its patrons were uncertain as to whether or not the restaurant would ever open for business again.
It did — but apparently, it will not even last a whole year.
The reason for the closure seems to be that Harper is looking to exit the daily grind — again, no pun intended — of operating a successful restaurant in Manhattan; but the reason really does not matter when you consider the continuing decline of the Kosher and Kosher-style delicatessen, of which I have written an extensive article here, as it is still one less establishment at which one can enjoy sandwiches and other classic delicatessen fare…
…and frankly — once again, no pun intended — I would not be surprised if some or all the factors cited in that article have contributed to the demise of the famous location of Carnegie Deli. Perhaps those factors are part of the reason as to why Harper is seeking to step back.
I reported that the legendary Stage Deli in New York shuttered its doors after 75 years in business in this article on Friday, February 1, 2013: “It was an empty victory for rival Carnegie Deli, which competed for decades with Stage Deli only half a city block away for customers hungry for overstuffed corned beef and pastrami sandwiches and other Kosher-style fare. Stage Deli — known for naming its sandwiches after celebrities — is the latest amongst a spate of delicatessens to close in New York. Although there are a number of choices still available in New York pertaining to both authentic Kosher and Kosher-style delicatessens where you can satisfy your craving of a week’s worth of meat piled high between two slices of rye bread and slathered with spicy brown mustard, the traditional delicatessen in New York appears to be slowly vanishing.”
The hollow victory for Carnegie Deli was emptier than I thought.
“And while the city once boasted between three and four thousand delis, today there are fewer than two-dozen”, according to this article written by Cathryn J. Prince for The Times of Israel pertaining to authentic delicatessens being the “secular version of the synagogue” for many people in New York who are of the Jewish faith. “It’s a shift that says as much about changing diets as it does about the assimilation of American Jews.”
Forget about the cheesecake — I am hungry and I want an authentic pastrami sandwich or corned beef sandwich right now.
854 Seventh Avenue at West 55 Street
New York, New York, 10019
Carnegie Deli is open every day from 8:00 in the morning through midnight — including all holidays — so if you want to enjoy a meal there, you have three more months to do so…
Source: Carnegie Deli.