In New York City, every borough has its own corner deli. It's the type of place where you can find all your favorites from pastrami on rye and tender corned beef to fresh-baked bagels heaped with lox.
But the neighborhood deli may be dying.
In 2015, a documentary entitled Deli Man examined the current state of the Jewish deli, drawing attention to the history — and uncertain future — of several well-known New York-style delicatessens. In it, producer and director Erik Greenberg Anjou explores the role American delicatessens have played in the greater context of the 20th century Jewish-American community.
In response, deli fans everywhere united in 2016 to bring renewed attention to these unique and truly American businesses, creating Delicatessen Month for the month of August. The new food holiday was founded as a collaboration between Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen & Restaurant owner Ziggy Gruber in Houston, Texas and Jay Parker, owner of Ben’s Best Deli in Rego Park, New York.
Sadly, since its launch — and especially during the ravages of the current COVID pandemic — more delis nationwide have shuttered their doors. The list includes 67-year-old Time Deli in San Jose, California; the famed Carnegie Deli, open since 1937, in New York; the 51-year-old Jack’s Deli in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Lenny’s Deli on Baltimore’s Corned Beef Row; and even National Deli Month collaborator Ben’s Best.
But hope for our nation's delis ramains. This August, a number of delicatessens across the country will be participating in the sixth-annual National Deli Month kicking off Sunday, August, 1, 2021. In support, they'll be offering specials that not only provide a chance to try a number of outstanding traditional deli dishes, but also raise needed funds for a chosen charity in their community.
The participating delis and locations represent various regions of the country, found coast-to-coast, with plenty of places in-between. For a full list visit delimonth.com.
With deli locations in cities across the United States participating, two Florida delicatessens are also involved.
In Delray Beach, 3G’s Gourmet Deli & Restaurant will donate $1 for every one of its famed New Yorker sandwiches sold throughout August to the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County. A combination of hot corned beef, hot pastrami, imported Swiss, coleslaw, and Russian dresssing, this massive sandiwch is served on the restaurant's house rye bread. The deli itself, in operation since 1986, is best known for its wide array of New York-style offerings from the whitefish salad and homemade chopped liver to the sturgeon, sable, or nova-topped bagels.
Likewise, Pomperdale New York Deli in Fort Lauderdale — a local institution that has been serving for more than 45 years — is also getting in on the action. It's the type of place that will gladly slap a slab of Swiss on top of your house-cured pastrami if you want to be non-traditional, but that also excels in the more esoteric selections of Jewish culinary tradition: the sublime knish, the curative chicken soup, and the enigmatic kugel. Their smoked fish selection swims with the stuff bubbeh adores, nova and lox, whitefish, and even pickled herring. During August, for every New Yorker Sandwich sold, the business will donate $1 to the Jewish Federation of Broward County. Buy the sandwich during National Deli Month and you'll also get a free bottle of the deli’s New York Deli Mustard.