Whenever I hear about a restaurant space becoming available in my neighborhood I often find myself later that night laying in bed dreaming up a business plan to bring the perfect New York-style Jewish deli to DC. In my opinion, DC is a deli wasteland. It’s one of the major things this city is missing. We have ok versions out in the suburbs, and for the time being, Morty’s, over near American University is my go to spot to fulfill the tastes of my childhood. But in reality, we have little to offer in the matzo ball soup and pastrami sandwich category.
I have come up with the perfect business plan for DC’s premier deli. It would be open 24 hours Thursday-Sunday. It would have a take-out counter and perfectly sliced corned beef. At least one person on the wait staff would remind you of your Great Aunt Esther. It wouldn’t be too refined or chic. Within a month there would be signed photos of Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank on the wall. It would be wonderful!
It appears that I am not alone in my longing for an old-school deli. The Jewish deli as we know it is dying off. The New York Times recently ran a story on this exact issue. And writer David Sax is equally obsessed with the notion of the Jewish deli. He has even written a book about it, Save the Deli: In Search of the Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen. (Note: check out the guide to Yiddish phrases “so you don’t sound like a schmuck” that Amazon.com offers up in the review of Sax’s book).
Lucky for us Washingtonians David Sax will be at Sixth and I Synagogue on Wednesday, October 21st at 7pm for a discussion of his book and how it relates to the Jewish body (samplings of deli food will also be available!). Tickets can be bought on the Sixth and I website.
So come one! Come all! Save the Deli!!
Thank you kskobac, Melting Noise, Gandhu and Sarah, and Delta Niner for your Flickr images.