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Are bagel shops or delis more Jewish?

On Twitter today Chaim from Life of Rubin asked the question- what is more Jewish? A deli or bagel shop, and after pondering for a bit I came up with the following conclusion.

While many non-Jews associate the bagel with Jews I think that Delis are more Jewish by default- they just feel more Jewish. The bagel store has been reproduced on a massive scale with places like Dunkin Donuts and Bruegers, but the deli or shall I say kosher deli has never been reproduced.

It is rare that I have seen a non-Kosher deli (not including kosher style) that can market the vibes given off by kosher and kosher style delis. The hanging salamis, the barrels of pickles and pickled tomatoes, big slabs of meat lit with aging florescent bulbs that flicker way too much and the old guy named Sol behind the counter giving you a Pastrami on Rye with a kasha knish on the side. Do any of you Brooklynites remember Ednas?

Bagel shops on the other hand are everywhere- simply lessening their Jewish nature by the mere proliferation of them.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Ben July 23, 2008, 3:11 PM

    Especially because Einstein has lox bagels ( http://www.einsteinbros.com/#/food/ ).

  • Raizy July 23, 2008, 3:28 PM

    When I was a kid, we used to eat pastrami sandwiches on bagels, thereby combining the best of both worlds.
    And how is it possible that the old guy behind the counter is ALWAYS named Sol?

  • heimish in bp July 23, 2008, 5:06 PM

    I miss Grand Deli, from the Lower East Side. They had the best hot steamed pastrami ever. Some spicy mustard with their homade pickles,mmmmm, i was in heaven. Its a pity they closed down. I still have cravings for it. Always on club, never on rye. rye always falls apart.

  • Left Brooklyn and never looked back July 23, 2008, 5:25 PM

    Ah Edna’s on Church Avenue … an era is almost gone **sigh**

    • Bagelboy November 6, 2011, 1:30 PM

      Edna’s or CHurch Avenue. I remember it fondly. We even had Edna Leib cater our son’s bris. Of course Church Avenue like everything in Brooklyn has changed.

  • afloydchick July 23, 2008, 5:26 PM

    yea, i used to go to ednas all the time for a chicken salad sandwich on rye with lettuce and tomatos. no one i know makes it that good anymore.

  • Left Brooklyn and never looked back July 23, 2008, 5:27 PM

    A Jewish Deli (kosher or “kosher style”) is uniquely Jewish. Anything else is a lousy imitation. And some cantankerous guy behind the counter has to be named Sol (or something similar) if his name is Jose (he may be nice and he may be cantankerous) but it is not the same.

  • TRS July 23, 2008, 8:36 PM

    Nu, where’s the best Kosher NY deli nowadays?

  • Sam July 23, 2008, 9:36 PM

    Hesh did you send your Monsey resturaunts reveiw to the NYC Health Board?


  • Batya July 23, 2008, 11:10 PM

    It’s the smell not doubt.

  • Ben July 24, 2008, 7:10 AM

    Ben’s, the chain with a branch in Boca is by far the best and consistent in quality control . The salads are made in-house and not of the Sally Sherman variety The fries are never frozen. The management is NOT oberveant so if your super frum guess you’ll have to eat @ Noah’s Ark which is the only frum-deli that somes close.

  • utubefan July 24, 2008, 7:46 AM

    Williamsburg–forgot the name

  • Left Brooklyn and never looked back July 24, 2008, 7:49 AM

    I agree with Ben about Ben’s. 2nd Avenue which reopended this year is not the same as when the original was on 2nd Avenue.

    If you are in NJ, then it is Noah’s Ark.

  • Frum Satire July 24, 2008, 9:19 AM

    The real deli seems to have been replaced by the fast food KD style restaurant that sells greasy Chinese food food, those overpriced salads where you choose your toppings and sushi. What happened to Essex? It never got rebuilt?

    I happen to like the deli stuff at Deli Kasbah on the upper west side- if you can handle being in an all too obvious Meshichist restaurant.

    I ate in Mendys last night in Crown Heights- but it doesn’t feel nor taste like a deli.

  • suitepotato July 24, 2008, 2:40 PM

    “Bagel shops on the other hand are everywhere- simply lessening their Jewish nature by the mere proliferation of them.”

    I’m seeing bagel shop non-proliferation treaties on the horizon…

  • Mikeinmidwood July 25, 2008, 9:43 AM

    Where is the best bagel store in nyc?

  • Frum Satire July 25, 2008, 10:01 AM

    Mike that is always a war between people. Everyone always claims their bagel shop is the best. The question can be broken up into pricing, service, toppings, crowds, speed of delivery, also whether or not the bagels are sandwich types or cream cheese types, also places such as H and H serve bagels which don’t need any spreads.

  • Lewis Greene July 31, 2008, 7:40 PM

    San Francisco has 3 hot pastrami deli.’s
    One Millers eastcoast deli very good.
    Would love to find a good Babka, as New York City would deliver even. A pletzil like a flat onion roll also unknown now. Real Danish are no where found. All the good bakers are retired.

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