NY Times On ‘A Kosher Deli Survivor’


epsteins-of-hartsdaleEmily DeNito of the New York Times reports: It’s been a tough few years for Jewish delis in Westchester. The Mount Kisco Kosher Deli and Restaurant was forced from its longtime home (though it found a new spot in White Plains) and Bloom’s Kosher Delicatessen and Restaurant in Yorktown Heights closed.

But the granddaddy of them all – Epstein’s of Hartsdale – is going strong after 40 years. Bought from the original owners by Robert DeGroaf and his wife, stepdaughter and son-in-law about a year and a half ago, Epstein’s has been spruced up and given a new focus on service while still putting out the same juicy pastrami, corned beef and freshly roasted turkey that it has for years.

Epstein’s delicious matzo ball soup ($3.25 a cup; $4.25 a bowl) was just what I needed on a recent cold and snowy weekend. Sandwiches come lean or fatty and in several sizes, including classic stuffed ($7.95 to $10.50), combinations ($9.75 to $11.25) and formidable four-layer monsters called “sloppy Joes” ($12.95).

The knishes are especially good. There are several baked, round versions, filled with spinach or kasha or potato ($3.50). But I prefer the familiar square, fried potato knish ($3.25) with a side of mustard for dipping. They aren’t greasy, and the crispy shell yields gently to a soft, flavorful filling.

One of Mr. DeGroaf’s first moves was to have the restaurant certified as kosher to appeal to observant Jews. That is a step that has also attracted other new diners, who often view kosher certification as an added food-safety measure (about 40 percent of Epstein’s customers are non-Jewish). Just as likely, people are coming in for the taste.

“All New Yorkers,” noted Mr. DeGroaf, “love a good Jewish deli.”

{NY Times/Matzav.com Newscenter}