Schlesinger's Delicatessen is Center City Philadelphia's answer to the traditional deli. For nearly a century, delis have been a staple in the United States. Even more than their home-cooked dishes, cured meats and rich pastries, the atmosphere of the Jewish delicatessen served as a gathering place for community and conversation, inspired by nostalgia for the old country. In the 1930s Joseph Schlesinger owned and operated a deli/luncheonette in West New York, New Jersey. More than eighty years later, his grandson Allan Domb continues the family tradition with Schlesinger's.
Between 1881 and 1924, two million Jewish people immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. The majority settled in New York and then, like many others, began to move to other metropolitan areas. German and Alsatian immigrants were the first to open delis in the United States, followed by Jewish immigrants. These establishments fed the longing for classic dishes that became the staples of deli fare: matzoh ball soup, noodle kugel, potato latkes and whitefish just to name a few.
Schlesinger's Delicatessen follows this century-old tradition. Best known for its oversized sandwiches, smoked fishes, massive desserts and traditional deli sides such as knishes, kugels, and potato pancakes, Schlesinger's is reminiscent of the country's original delis. The decor is authentic-hardwood floors, wood tables and chairs, tin ceiling, mirrors and stainless steel deli cases. Expect to find lox and bagels, corned beef specials, brisket platters, kasha varnishkes, black and white cookies, a case of Dr. Brown's soda and good conversation.
Schlesinger's is managed by Louis Barson, owner of Hymie's in Merion and a number of other delis in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.