33rd and 3rd… and 2nd Ave

According to food blog eater.com and neighborhood chatter ,the Second Avenue Deli will be reopening on 33rd street between 3rd Avenue and Lexington. Construction has begun on the site. Besides questions about what the restaurant will be called, this opening raises questions about the addition of another Midtown kosher deli.

Will it even be kosher?

Second Avenue Deli stood as a relic of a lost world of Jewish life. “Yiddish Broadway,” bubbling with immigrant communities, theaters and kosher institutions is now reserved for the history books. People frequented the deli, in part, because it touched our nostalgic side. And because it had virtually no competition. But as any former diner knows, the prices were outrageous. A comparison of Midtown prices if Second Avenue Deli keeps it’s old menu:

Chopped Liver and Turkey Sandwich is $12.99 at Ben’s, $12.95 at Mendy’s, and was $15.25 at 2nd Ave.

Chicken in a Pot is a Wednesday special for $12.99 at Ben’s, $15.95 at Mendy’s and was $17.95 at 2nd Ave.

Brisket of Beef Sandwich is $14.99 at Ben’s, $12.95 at Mendy’s and was $15.25 at 2nd Ave.

People paid the higher prices because they were supporting an institution, a museum of sorts. Will they do the same at just one of many delis in the new area?

Additionally, Second Avenue was open on Shabbat. Many of the visitors were not concerned with its certification. Will a Jewish deli open on Friday nights hit it big in this new market or will it alienate too many observant customers?

We’ll know as the people vote with their feet and their appetites.

Posted on June 6, 2007

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