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Why Doesn’t Dallas Support New York-Style Delis?


Pastrami sandwich at Deli-News. (Photography by Kevin Marple.)

On January 25 I reported the closing of Gio’s Café and New York Deli. In the post I wrote: “What a snake-bit location for deli. Ed’s Deli closed in December 2008 , Roasters and Toasters lasted less than a year after replacing Deli News Too.”

People are still commenting on why Gio’s, and other New York-style delis in Dallas, failed. Tina Wasserman, author of Entrée to Judaism and teacher of all-things-kosher, left this comment:

 “It has very little to do with location (unless you can’t find parking). Delis’ biggest competition is people’s memories and memories are very hard to reproduce. Additionally, the manager of Katz’s in NY told me that he has made his special pastrami recipe all over the country and the same recipe doesn’t re-create in other cities mainly due to water.”

Hmm, that’s the common excuse for why bagels can’t be reproduced outside of NYC. Really water and pastrami? Interesting. I thought the pastrami served at Gio’s was imported from New York. So does that mean the water the meat is steamed with?

Another reader took the time to email me with his thoughts which I also find interesting. My new friend Joe says:

Most deli food is not healthy. Most deli food comes in huge ridiculous portions. Most deli food is fattening. My mental association with deli food is an image of fat sedentary people eating stuff that is literally killing them similar to traditional southern cuisine. It’s old hat and pretty uninteresting. Reminds some of what our grandparents ate and thought was wonderful. Most delis are very noisy and some of us don’t care for the noise. I’m probably saying more about me than anything else since I happen to be Jewish and grew up in small town Texas, but maybe others have the same thought.

I happen to be a shiksha who grew up in the neighborhood behind Preston Forest and attended Arthur Kramer Elementary school. I remember standing in line outside of Wall’s Delicatessen in Preston Royal Shopping Center. I appreciate a good deli and hit Katz’s when in New York. Perhaps Dallas prefers their brisket barbecued. I think Tina and Joe have made some interesting points. Would love to hear yours.