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Delicatessens – Jewish soul food: Save Irving’s Deli

June 21, 2009

cowtongueEvery Sunday night when I was growing up, we went out to dinner.  There were about a half dozen or so restaurants that were on the rotation; Lipson’s Deli and Luck King Chinese Restaurant on North Avenue, Epstein’s Deli on Central Avenue, and a few more that I no longer recall.  I remember the Deli’s with their sandwiches piled high with meat on rye bread, matzoh ball soup and seven layer cake.

I often would order the tongue sandwich.  One evening as we waited for a table, I was looking at the variety of food behind the glass counter at the front of the restaurant.  I noticed this immense, curved piece of meat that resembled a huge tongue.  I asked my dad what it was and he replied, “that’s what you order almost every time you are here.”   GROSS !   I had always thought that it was a cut of meat that resembled a tongue, so that was why it was so named.   I never imagined that it was actually a cow’s tongue.  Since that time, I have not been able to eat tongue sandwiches, even though I really liked them.

About 2 years ago, a deli opened nearby.  It looked reminiscent of the ones I went to as a kid.  The glass fronted counter contained the cuts of meat I remember, pastrami, corn beef, turkey, and yes, a tongue.  As their motto implies, “Huge servings at Irvings”, the sandwiches are immense.  Even Darryl can’t finish the full sandwich and usually orders a 1/2 sandwich.

Earlier this year, the stores in the strip mall on Route 10 in which Irving’s  Deli sits have been closing one by one.  Now there are only 2 stores left, Toys-R-Us on one side and Irving’s Deli on the other.   The rest of the mall is dark.  Across the street, the car dealership is also closed.

The restaurant parked their box truck emblazoned with their logo in the parking lot up by the street in hopes of alerting passer-bys that the restaurant was still there.   The town gave them a ticket !!!  How stupid is that.  You would think that the town of Livingston would be bending over backwards to help any stores that are still open.

Read the story about the restaurant and the fight to keep it open.   Want to help?  Go and eat.


Irving’s: To Save a Deli


When I often write about saving delis, it usually occurs after a deli has closed down. Those are sad occasions, which ultimately serve to remind us all as to why we have to fight for delis to survive, to fight, and ultimately to prevail. But for the deli that’s just passed, there’s precious little we can do my friends. It is history.

Just this past Wednesday I found myself way out in the suburbs of New Jersey, in the town of Livingston, visiting a relatively new deli called Irving’s. For a month or so, one of your readers has told me to go our there repeatedly, and finally I made the journey (thanks to a friend with a car). I encountered a deli at the end of its rope.

Livingston has been hit hard by the recession, and that was blatantly apparent when we pulled into the plaza where Irving’s is housed. The anchor tenants of this big strip mall –an Office Depot, Bo Concept, and other store– had all gone out of business in the past few months. Though their signs still hung above their doors, the shelves were bare, the lights were off, and nary a soul was in sight. This was a ghost mall, one of hundreds around America, and in the corner, its neon burning bright, Irving’s held on for dear life.

Read the rest of the post here:

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