Jon Jacobs gave me a major thrill in 2007. That’s when he opened the closest thing we’ve got in Seattle to the kind of old-fashioned Jewish deli I grew up with: I Love New York Deli in Pike Place Market. There, I regularly waddle away with a hot pastrami sandwich in one hand and a warm kasha knish in the other. So what if the “deli” is a mere 105-square-feet of kiosk space parked in the holy triangle (you’ll forgive the expression) between DeLaurenti and Daily Dozen Doughnuts? It’s brought to us by a Brooklyn-born fresser who knows from Jewish deli-food. And today Jon’s got great news:
He’s going big-time, branching out with a second I Love New York Deli. In addition to all the delectables he’s been dispensing at the Market, he’ll offer a complete line of smoked fish imported from Homarus/Marshall in Brooklyn (belly lox! kippered salmon! smoked sable!), a dedicated deli case filled with kosher meats from Brooklyn’s own Empire National, plus kugels, kasha varnishkes, stuffed cabbage, rugalach, egg creams and Chock full ‘o Nuts (the “heavenly coffee“).
Did I mention 50 seats and 20 parking slots?
So, where’s it gonna be? Why should I tell you when you can get it straight from the horse’s mouth? Heeeeeeeer’s Jon-ny.
“I’m on cloud nine! I haven’t slept in three days!” he says, having just signed the lease on the Continental Store European Delicatessen which relocated to 5200 Roosevelt Way N.E. several years ago — half a block north of the original. The Continental (not to be confused with the nearby Greek joint) has been U-District staple for a half-century. Ingrid Lechtenberg, who’s owned the place for a decade, sold her last bratwurst yesterday.
“I’m 75. I’m retiring,” Ingrid said by phone this morning. “She sold me everything,” notes Jon. From the inventory and the “German tchotckes” (to be donated to the local food bank and to Temple Beth Am, respectively) to the almost-new equipment — for which he can’t believe his good luck. He expects to reopen in two weeks, running both businesses with the help of his bride of 38 years. “Lorraine will be at the Market on weekends. I’ll split my time, doing lunch at the Market, morning and late afternoon at the other store” — to be open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jazzed at the speed with which the sale has come down, Jon says of the new U-District shop and its potential customers, “I want this to become their part of Brooklyn. They can sit there” — eating lox and fresh bagels — “and remember it. You won’t see any Yankees hats. It’ll be Brooklyn Dodgers and Brooklyn Cyclones in my place.”
Even the hired help is getting into the act. Among his 11 employees is his newest — a card-carrying redhead, name of Brooklyn:
Jon, posing with Brooklyn. That’s Anthony (“Ant-ny” to youse) behind the counter.
And if you think I’m making up that bit about the kid’s name, think again. She showed me her Washington State ID — it’s her given name! There’s no doubt this guy’s got the borough in his blood — blood that, by the way, is looking a whole lot better since his gastric-bypass surgery in January. A shadow of his former self, Jon’s lost 157 pounds. Weighing in at 242, he feels like a million bucks. Obesity has always been an issue for the mensch who says he’s now eating 300 calories daily and laying off the knishes (though the mini-knishes he makes for caterings sorely tempt). Since opening I Love New York Deli, “I ate a pastrami sandwich every day!”
And with reubens like this one, who can blame him?
I Love New York Deli’s “New Canarsie Reuben” on zissel rye.
$11.95 and food enough for two? Such a deal!