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Roaster’s New York Deli in Dallas is Closed

According to Robert Wilonsky, Roaster’s Deli at Preston and LBJ closed two weeks ago. His post on Unfair Park asks the question we have tried to answer here: “Why can’t Dallas do a proper Hebrew deli?” (See “Three Jews, Zinsky’s Deli in Dallas, Six Opinions.”)

When Evan “Hebrew American League” Grant was on staff here at D, he wrote about Roaster’s and the dearth of delis in Dallas. In particular, bagels. Grant said:

“First a disclaimer, finding good bagels in Dallas has been as difficult as finding a date ( and for me, that’s nigh impossible). Einstein’s? Feh. They should be called “bagel rolls.” Whole Foods? Again with the rolls, only heavier than Einstein’s. Central Market? Getting closer. The bagel I had [at Roaster’s] Sunday was a work of art.”

Last April, I ate a pastrami sandwich at Roaster’s. I thought it was great.  A week ago, I went to Zinsky’s. I didn’t think the pastrami was as good as what I was served at Roaster’s but I noticed that the bagels they serve at Zinsky’s have changed. Initially they were made by Empire Bakery. Now, according to a server, they are baked on site. (I hear they buy pre-formed dough and bake them off.) I’ve spotted H&H bagel’s, imports from Manhattan, at Deli News and Beyond the Box. Cindi’s N.Y. Deli seems to be the only one that manages to stay alive and propagate—they now have 5 locations. I think we need to answer this question. I’m calling an expert. Let’s see what she has to say.

Dallas Deli Trivia: According to this, Jack Ruby was toting a brown bag filled with sandwiches from gone-but-ner-to-be-forgotten Phil’s Delicatessen on Oak Lawn (Lucky’s location.)

18 comments on “Roaster’s New York Deli in Dallas is Closed

  1. I lived three blocks from Phil’s during the early 70’s. Phil was a real character. If he didn’t like you, you knew it.
    We also used to go to Wall’s Deli on the South West corner of Preston/Royal about the same time. But, Phil’s was more like a real NYC deli.

  2. Upside down means dead restaurant in NN language.

    I remember seeing a Phil’s in Allen. Pretty sure it was the same Phil’s, but this was several years ago.

    For my money, gimme Deli News and a few napkins.

  3. Gotchya, ‘Dude & NN. I kinda thought that was the idea behind the picture AFTER I wrote.

    And Nancy, I did read the link. Enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

    ‘Dude: Ditto for me regarding Deli-News!

  4. Roaster’s, like all the other Deli’s had a huge menu. It takes alot of customers to justify such a large menu and the short shelf life of chopped liver.

  5. Face it, Roasters went away because the public spoke. The very first day they were open I spoke to one of the owners that stated that Ed’s couldn’t make it because ‘they sucked’. This begs the question of why they didn’t survive in a vastly Jewish community, and prosperous restaurant corner.

  6. Why doesn’t someone open an Infidel Deli? Just serve Bigass Corned Beef and Pastrami sandwhiches.
    Find the best bagels and pickles around and don’t be constained by having to worry about Black and white cookies, gelitile fish,chopped liver and all the other stuff that people say you need to be a real deli, but never order?

    And yes the above is a run on sentence of epic proportions.

  7. Ok, so I might not care about black and white cookies or gefilte fish but please, please don’t say that I or others don’t eat chopped liver.
    On any given Sunday you’ll see many, many, people eating chopped liver AND, matzoh ball soup.
    Staples, for sure in any Jewish deli!

  8. I so agree with CoB. Anyplace that proudly serves Boars Head isn’t a real deli. But that’s what people in Dallas like. I also agree with Mark. Pare down the menu, focus on a few key items, and try again. I would, however, love to find a decent black and white cookie outside of NYC.

  9. laurie: If you haven’t already, Try Deli-News. All their pastries taste just like what you’d find in a NYC deli.

  10. You are all missing the point. There has been good, great, and not so good in this town but the competition isn’t the deli down the block, it’s people’s idyllic memory of what they are used to or think they remember. One deli had people tell them to cut the tomatoes thinner and another customer requested thicker. Only at a deli would customers have the hutzpah to tell a restauranteur how to serve a dish. If you don’t like it, don’t order it again, but Dallas wouldn’t be happy with a New York Deli Waitress’ response either!

  11. Most NYC deli’s have male wait staff (formally, known as, waiters) not, female wait staff (formally known as, waitress’)