April 25, 2014

2nd Ave Deli in Manhattan

One of New York's best Kosher delis is just a few blocks away from our apartment. There are actually two 2nd Ave Deli locations, one in Midtown and ours on the Upper East Side. Neither is located on 2nd Avenue.

We came for lunch and were welcomed by several of the restaurant's excellent staff. There was a genuine friendliness in the way they approached us which suggests to me that this is a good place to work; it's a good sign when employees smile and show care for their customers. It seems a simple enough concept, though it doesn't always happen, as we have evidenced at a few grocery stores in the neighbourhood. But that's another story.

Menu items at the 2nd Ave Deli are varied and plentiful. There are franks and knishes, blintzes and kugel, but the place is really famous for its corned beef and tongue, and its variety of sandwiches, with names like Instant Heart Attack and Triple Bypass. It all looked good to me.

The 2nd Ave Deli was started in 1954 by Abe Lebewohl in a 10-seat luncheonette on East 10th Street (not 2nd Avenue). Over time the business grew and both Abe and his deli became New York institutions. In 1996 Abe was murdered on his way to the bank to make a deposit. The city was shocked and mourned one of its own for Abe was a gifted business person and a generous man. For ten years Abe's wife and brother kept the deli open until it closed in 2006 over a dispute with the landlord. However. Two nephews, Josh and Jeremy, re-opened the business in Midtown and then a few years later at East 75th Street and 1st Avenue, where we find ourselves on this particular day. Not on 2nd Avenue.

After some thought Sherry chose a tuna sandwich on toasted caraway and rye while Jeem opted for a triple-decker featuring corned beef, pastrami and salami. Both sandwiches were fantastic as were the side dishes. Sherry only ate half of her sandwich. Jeem, well... no heart attacks.

2nd Ave Deli on Urbanspoon

Great food. Friendly service. Open until midnight seven days a week. Is this a great city or what?

Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014.