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Deli doesn't rhyme with Porsche. :(

Although I suppose tying everything together (New York, Katz's, wine), he could open Rkatzideli.

I will ignore Rocks' snide comment and respond to Daniel's post in earnest. I love Jewish deli. I rarely visit NY without a trip to Katz's. But take a look at how many delis have survived in NY, let alone the rest of the country. In my view, despite the constant outcry for a good Jewish deli here, I have big doubts that one is commercially viable in DC. It is, for the most part, a one meal restaurant, which right there presents a tough economic model. I think perhaps a great sandwich shop that included non Jewish Deli sandwiches could work, but I'm not even sure of that. I may be wrong about this, and i will surely support whomever takes this plunge and happily admit I was wrong if it flourishes.

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It's been open for years. Go for the corned beef. On a higher plane, the corned beef sandwich at Central at lunch is a serious contender. Only thing missing is the Batampte Mustard. (I've said this before).

Yes, we've already been over this one. Corned beef and pastrami at Deli City are excellent, but nothing else is, and the rye bread is atrocious.

I think a good Jewish-style deli would be quite successful in the suburbs, but the business model to make it work in the city probably isn't there. We do have Parkway, Woodside, Celebrity, Brooklyn's et. al in MoCo, and they all seem to be around long enough that they must be making money, but none of them are all that great.

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Corned beef and pastrami at Deli City are excellent, but nothing else is, and the rye bread is atrocious.

LOL, Daniel. Déjà vu re the rye bread discussion. It was so-o-o outrageous the last time it was discussed on CH (and the sin involved in eating corned beef on anything but good rye bread!), that the comments got deleted. I still haven't been to Deli City, so I can't comment, but you know that I would love a Flakowitz-NY-style deli here in D.C. I think it could work if it were located in say, Bethesda or around Friendship Heights.

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Yes, we've already been over this one. Corned beef and pastrami at Deli City are excellent, but nothing else is, and the rye bread is atrocious.

I think a good Jewish-style deli would be quite successful in the suburbs, but the business model to make it work in the city probably isn't there. We do have Parkway, Woodside, Celebrity, Brooklyn's et. al in MoCo, and they all seem to be around long enough that they must be making money, but none of them are all that great.

Carnegie Deli opened a store in Northern Virginia about 10 years ago with disastrous results.

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Carnegie Deli opened a store in Northern Virginia about 10 years ago with disastrous results.

I remember going there - they deserved to fail. They must have felt that DC would do anything for the Carnegie in name, because the product they brought was crap.

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I remember going there - they deserved to fail. They must have felt that DC would do anything for the Carnegie in name, because the product they brought was crap.

I had just spent four months in NYC shortly before they opened, and had probably been to the NYC Carnegie Deli at least ten times in the five years preceding that - this was during Leo Steiner's heyday. I knew that restaurant very well, and the opening version of the Tysons Corner store had sandwiches that were its equal. They had brought their main deli guy (the gruff, gravely voiced gentleman) down to supervise, and they were using the exact same meats. I thought the Broadway Danny Rose (which is another name for the Woody Allen), the Leo's Delightin', and the Ah, There's The Ruben! were virtually the same product. The atmosphere was different, I can't vouch for much else on the menu, but I went straight for the sandwiches, and they were indistinguishable, both in size and quality. That changed quickly after the first few months (I don't remember what happened to the gruff, gravelly voiced gentleman), and then the restaurant began its steady downhill path to what would eventually become "Carneigie's." That restaurant (both as Carnegie Deli and Carnegie's) was so bad for so long, that almost nobody remembers that, for a brief moment in time, it was probably the only great Jewish Deli this area had ever seen (I'm assuming there was nothing back in the 1920s or whatever).

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I remember going there - they deserved to fail. They must have felt that DC would do anything for the Carnegie in name, because the product they brought was crap.

The food for both places came from the same source. The difference was in the ambiance and the service. Here is a historical note:

<<Talk of the Tyson’s Carnegie’s reminds me of their opening night 25 years or so ago. A local PR firm invited a bunch of sensitive palates (and me) to compare the New York and Tyson’s places as a publicity event. About a dozen of us met at National Airport, flew to New York, taxied to 7th Avenue and sat down for lunch. One of our number, Rudy Maxa, had invited Elizabeth Ray (Cong. Wayne Hays’ secretary who couldn’t type) along with Brooke Shields and her mother to join us in Manhattan. The place was crowded as usual. I said to the waiter, “I would like a pastrami sandwich.” The waiter said, “No, you wouldn’t.” I said, “Huh?” The waiter, an elderly man, unshaven, with a dirty shirt, said, “You would like a pastrami and corned beef sandwich.” And so it was. Afterward, we took cabs to Penn Station and hopped on a train with a special dining and lounging car for our group. Rudy and I tried not to eat too much but we did sample their libations. A bus met us in DC and took us out to Tyson’s for dinner. Some of us had not yet recovered our full appetite but we were feeling game and not going to miss the opportunity to do an important scientific comparison. (Actually, we were told that trucks from the same point in New Jersey supplied both restaurants every morning.) At this point, my recollection begins to grow dim, but I do remember that my waitperson in Virginia was Asian, female, neatly dressed, and didn’t argue with her customers — a disgraceful failure of Carnegie authenticity.>>

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That changed quickly after the first few months (I don't remember what happened to the gruff, gravelly voiced gentleman), and then the restaurant began its steady downhill path to what would eventually become "Carneigie's."

With absolutely no hard evidence to prove the point, I always assumed that the death spiral began because of what I thought was an extremely poor location. It was basically hidden in the heart of Tyson's Corner connected to the back end of some middling chain hotel. It was not a set-up that exuded "success."

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Carnegie Deli opened a store in Northern Virginia about 10 years ago with disastrous results.

Not to get too picky, but I think it was longer ago than that, maybe closer to 20 years ago. And like Rocks said, at least when they first opened the pastrami sandwich was exactly the same as the one in NYC.

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Not to get too picky, but I think it was longer ago than that, maybe closer to 20 years ago. And like Rocks said, at least when they first opened the pastrami sandwich was exactly the same as the one in NYC.

We tried the Tysons Carnegie two times. The first time we thought it was good. I got the chopped liver sandwich; perfectly acceptable. The second time they had no chopped liver; I knew the place would be gone soon. And sure enough...

BTW, Chutzpah's chopped liver is weak.

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I'm no expert at demographics or business plans - but it would seem a jewish deli would have an especially hard time here for a number of unique reasons:

1. To many people around here, "deli" means the counter in the cornder of the Giant Food Store where you buy a pound of shaved ham. So if they're thinking of buying meats, they go to the store. If they are thinking of a meal, they aren't thinking of a deli.

2. To that end, a NY deli relies much on foot traffic. In NY, a place can have 1/2 million people within walking distance. With the zoning laws around here, you're lucky to have 1/2 dozen, and 1/2 of them have probably never used their neighborhood sidewalks. Not saying its like that everywhere, just most places. This is a car city, and deli's are foot places.

3. Lastly, its a bit of a nostalgia play, and new places have a really hard time making 'nostalgia' their business/marketing plan. Not saying it isn't possible, just a steeper uphill climb.

I think there are a few success stories in lower Montgomery County as that area has an established and dense population, more approximating NY. But i wouldn't want to open a new place on that alone.

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I'm no expert at demographics or business plans - but it would seem a jewish deli would have an especially hard time here for a number of unique reasons:

1. To many people around here, "deli" means the counter in the cornder of the Giant Food Store where you buy a pound of shaved ham. So if they're thinking of buying meats, they go to the store. If they are thinking of a meal, they aren't thinking of a deli.

2. To that end, a NY deli relies much on foot traffic. In NY, a place can have 1/2 million people within walking distance. With the zoning laws around here, you're lucky to have 1/2 dozen, and 1/2 of them have probably never used their neighborhood sidewalks. Not saying its like that everywhere, just most places. This is a car city, and deli's are foot places.

3. Lastly, its a bit of a nostalgia play, and new places have a really hard time making 'nostalgia' their business/marketing plan. Not saying it isn't possible, just a steeper uphill climb.

I think there are a few success stories in lower Montgomery County as that area has an established and dense population, more approximating NY. But i wouldn't want to open a new place on that alone.

OK, Ill chime in. I agree with Mr Slater Central's corned beef is a contender in any deli world. for a bit of a travel go to Attman's in Baltimore 4th generation family owned ( from scratch) deli. Now to address the deli topic. IN MY OPINION unfortunately the majority of "deli's" clients are aging. Go into any deli at dinner and you'll see what I mean. You can't make enough money at lunch only, even downtown to suppport any type of profit given the horrible , notorious low yields of deli food. (if youve evern cleaned a brisket you see my point almost 30% of its weight goes in the trash can before cooking) so with DC rents as high as they are, no one really willing to pay 20.00 for a sandwich, and little dinner business makes it a very tough spot to be in. Im talking of course of a "textbook tradional jewish deli". sure there can be sandwich variations like G st etc, but that concept hasnt proven the test of time, like a solid traditional deli outpost. Go to Parkway in Silver Spring that should put it all in a nutshell. RIP Traditional Jewish Delis outside of NY.

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For all I've carped about the lack of good deli in this area, these explanations - dismal as they may be - at least provide some comfort through justification.

"Why, doc?! Why oh WHY do I have this terrible condition? It's so unfair!"

"Well, you not only have a family history, but you're also a chain smoker, and you haven't exercised in fifteen years. So, it's perfectly understandable."

"Ah, okay! That makes it all better!"

None of this, however, addresses The Bagel Problem.

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OK, Ill chime in. I agree with Mr Slater Central's corned beef is a contender in any deli world. for a bit of a travel go to Attman's in Baltimore 4th generation family owned ( from scratch) deli. Now to address the deli topic. IN MY OPINION unfortunately the majority of "deli's" clients are aging. Go into any deli at dinner and you'll see what I mean. You can't make enough money at lunch only, even downtown to suppport any type of profit given the horrible , notorious low yields of deli food. (if youve evern cleaned a brisket you see my point almost 30% of its weight goes in the trash can before cooking) so with DC rents as high as they are, no one really willing to pay 20.00 for a sandwich, and little dinner business makes it a very tough spot to be in. Im talking of course of a "textbook tradional jewish deli". sure there can be sandwich variations like G st etc, but that concept hasnt proven the test of time, like a solid traditional deli outpost. Go to Parkway in Silver Spring that should put it all in a nutshell. RIP Traditional Jewish Delis outside of NY.

Agreed. And to that end, I suspect the few survivors, even in NYC are ones that either are established and small enough to not be a big loss, even if they are losing money OR are pulling in tourist dollars, like the famous NYC ones.

I therefore think the only chance for success of such a venture, around here, is to take a venture that's successful on other terms and kind of 'slide' the clientel into the deli mode. Unfortunately, I don't think the end result would ever be considered a "traditional jewish deli" but it could offer a decent alternative and still turn a profit.

I'm thinking of a place like Royal Bagel Bakery in Germantown, MD, which does a few bakery things pretty well and has the 'attitude' of NY deli yet the young/family clientel of a sustainable business. if they could expand their table service and hot food offerings, they could be on to something. They are 1/2 way there with knishes, bialys, crumbbuns and the like.

I also think that as there are more of the "town center" type neighborhoods (dulles town center, rockville, etc) where you have mixed zoning even in same building (restaurant below, tenants above) you might see the deli concept return. Of course, right now those places are "hot" and the rents are probably too high. But that will eventually level off and the populations will be more 'normal' (not 20 something hipsters) and the deli might thrive.

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The economist in me thinks perhaps the explanation for the lack of outstanding delis in this area may stem from a lack of demand for them. Sure, there are those on this board and others who appreciate a fine deli, and are not adverse to a good tongue sandwich or chopped chicken livers. The larger local population, however, would never touch the stuff and are just as happy to buy cold cuts at Safeway. In the New York area there is a larger base for these types of food, as most folks grew up with the tradition of the local deli and continue to support those shops in their neighborhoods and frequent them several times a week. In Washington, I fear a truly good Jewish deli would be nothing more than another specialty shop that would serve the entire region, and not just the neighborhood in which they are based. The demographics and the economy here are just set up differently. As big as New York is, I know people who live in Manhattan who tell me they do most of there food shopping within a few blocks of their home. Few in Washington can say that. This demand in New York creates more stores. The larger base leads to a larger raw number of them being good. It's the law of percentages.

That said, I have been in some bad delis in New York, and eaten some piss poor bagels there as well.

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OK, Ill chime in. I agree with Mr Slater Central's corned beef is a contender in any deli world. for a bit of a travel go to Attman's in Baltimore 4th generation family owned ( from scratch) deli. Now to address the deli topic. IN MY OPINION unfortunately the majority of "deli's" clients are aging. Go into any deli at dinner and you'll see what I mean. You can't make enough money at lunch only, even downtown to suppport any type of profit given the horrible , notorious low yields of deli food. (if youve evern cleaned a brisket you see my point almost 30% of its weight goes in the trash can before cooking) so with DC rents as high as they are, no one really willing to pay 20.00 for a sandwich, and little dinner business makes it a very tough spot to be in. Im talking of course of a "textbook tradional jewish deli". sure there can be sandwich variations like G st etc, but that concept hasnt proven the test of time, like a solid traditional deli outpost. Go to Parkway in Silver Spring that should put it all in a nutshell. RIP Traditional Jewish Delis outside of NY.

This sounds absolutely right. So perhaps the only hope is to have a fabulous deli *inside of* something a bit larger and more diverse -- that is to say, Zingerman's. Z's opened when I was a student in Ann Arbor in 1983, and it really seemed to me to be the wave of the future. It's still going strong -- much stronger, actually, if now a bit overpriced -- but as far as I know no one has tried to duplicate it anywhere else in the country. Why not?

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This sounds absolutely right. So perhaps the only hope is to have a fabulous deli *inside of* something a bit larger and more diverse -- that is to say, Zingerman's. Z's opened when I was a student in Ann Arbor in 1983, and it really seemed to me to be the wave of the future. It's still going strong -- much stronger, actually, if now a bit overpriced -- but as far as I know no one has tried to duplicate it anywhere else in the country. Why not?

I've never seen a single restaurant attempt to be as comprehensive as Zingerman's - it's a remarkable model for anyone to study. (From a critical viewpoint, much of it fails in execution, but it's still a very impressive, formidable venture - especially considering it looks like a Denny's sitting out in the middle of a strip-mall parking lot.)

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Since I started this, I will briefly point out that I made no claim that opening a deli would be profitable, just that I wanted to see someone do it, since I love them so much, but have found only fair to decent ones around here. And specifically, Mark, since he's clearly looking for new possible opportunities, has expressed HIS love for delis in the past, and I love love love Proof. <end>

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Since I started this, I will briefly point out that I made no claim that opening a deli would be profitable, just that I wanted to see someone do it, since I love them so much, but have found only fair to decent ones around here. And specifically, Mark, since he's clearly looking for new possible opportunities, has expressed HIS love for delis in the past, and I love love love Proof. <end>

A full deli isn't necessary. The things from my youth (in New York) that I crave are good chopped liver and bagels so fresh they're too hot to eat. That's all. Kuller, your work is cut out for you.

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A full deli isn't necessary. The things from my youth (in New York) that I crave are good chopped liver and bagels so fresh they're too hot to eat.

The bagels you mention, and pastrami for another example, are things not easily made at home, but chopped liver? Anybody can do that.
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Cooking for one is a challenge. Someone could make a fortune with a grocery store designed for singles.

I completely agree. About grocery stores designed for singles, whenever I visit NYC, I often find myself grocery shopping (really just picking up stuff for breakfast the next day and admiring the great selection of product, even in small stores) after midnight or late at night. It's amazing how many of those small markets, bodegas, and even decent-sized grocery stores in Manhattan cater to singles.

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Yes, but it's even more amazing how none of the stores in DC caters to singles.

You are so right. I think that's one of the reasons I find myself in those Manhattan markets so late at night--first of all, because places are OPEN past 9:00 or 10:00 pm and second, because of the range of products that you don't often see in DC, and three because of exactly what you said--because it's possible to get good quality food in single-size portions if one so desires. It's 2 a.m., and I would be happy to be at one of those markets or bodegas now! :(

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Let's not forget that DC is 2.5 times the size of Manhattan, 1/3 the population, and almost no late-night scene. I think a late-night grocery store would fail miserably in DC right now.

Dc's also not a "living" downtown. because of the height restrictions on the buildings we'll never get the residential or office density NY, Chicago or even Philly has. with DC rents fast approaching manhattan's the basic economincs get even tougher

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Dc's also not a "living" downtown. because of the height restrictions on the buildings we'll never get the residential or office density NY, Chicago or even Philly has. with DC rents fast approaching manhattan's the basic economincs get even tougher

Which dovetails with what I've been saying - in fact we've all been saying the same thing, just from different angles. I think DC just isn't set up for a 'traditional' deli, any more than Manhattan is set up for a Costco. (and before you launch the scuds, yes, I see there's a Costco in Manhattan :( )

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Let's not forget that DC is 2.5 times the size of Manhattan, 1/3 the population, and almost no late-night scene. I think a late-night grocery store would fail miserably in DC right now.

True, but that doesn't make some of us want a late-night grocery store catering to singles (and people who work late hours) any less the same way as you (and I) would like to have a great NY-style deli (a la Flakowitz)...

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Dc's also not a "living" downtown. because of the height restrictions on the buildings we'll never get the residential or office density NY, Chicago or even Philly has. with DC rents fast approaching manhattan's the basic economincs get even tougher

Blaming the lack of good deli in Washington on the building height limit is one of the sillier criticisms of the height limit I've seen, and I've seen some really silly ones. I really do wish people would get over this particular aspect of the reality of Washington. Washington isn't perfect, and it isn't Manhattan, and it isn't Paris, but it is wonderfully what it is, and no tall buildings is part of what it is and part of what makes it wonderful.

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Blaming the lack of good deli in Washington on the building height limit is one of the sillier criticisms of the height limit I've seen, and I've seen some really silly ones. I really do wish people would get over this particular aspect of the reality of Washington. Washington isn't perfect, and it isn't Manhattan, and it isn't Paris, but it is wonderfully what it is, and no tall buildings is part of what it is and part of what makes it wonderful.

I have to say ... I agree that the height restriction is directly responsible for lack of population density, and as a consequence, a lack of walk-in restaurants of all types. I've been saying this for years, and I don't see it as a "criticism" so much as an "observation." (Personally, I wouldn't want the height restriction removed.)

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I have to say ... I agree that the height restriction is directly responsible for lack of population density, and as a consequence, a lack of walk-in restaurants of all types. I've been saying this for years, and I don't see it as a "criticism" so much as an "observation." (Personally, I wouldn't want the height restriction removed.)

Okay, quiz time. 1) Which has taller buildings, Washington or Houston? Okay, 2) which has higher population density? Answers: 1) Houston, by a long shot, and 2) Washington, by a long shot (like 2 1/2 times). I am unable to report on which of the two cities has better deli but, although this may be like asking whether Delhi or Honolulu has the better Alpine skiing, I doubt it's Houston.

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Interestingly, I had the opportunity to eat at a deli in the outskirts of Mpls this weekend and I was thinking back to reading this thread. It's called the Crossroads Deli, and has a deli counter + restaurant with traditional and not so traditional items on the menu. That way they have the business model that is not so narrow and can cater to a wide variety of tastes. Aha, I just found their webpage and noticed their tag line "more than just a deli"

I had the Chicken Mazto Ball soup which was outstanding. My Walleye unfortunately was not; just ok. Pickled Beets and Pickles are set initially on table before ordering. Olive bread and Challah were both fought over. Other family members enjoyed Cabbage Borscht, BLT on croissant, Chicken in a pot, thinly sliced Pastrami on Rye and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. There were 100% Angus Burgers on the menu, as well as salads and Tomato Basil cream soup. Hummus and pita, and chopped chicken livers.

I would definitely seek out this restaurant if it were in this area. Like most restaurants of this kind, you just have to know what to order and what to avoid, but there were enough items to catch my interest. (oh and the desserts at the deli counter were very difficult to walk away from. Alas, we did so successfully this time.:()

Now while this is definitely not a NYC or even a Parkway Deli atmosphere, it is one that I think could work very well in this area.

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Okay, quiz time. 1) Which has taller buildings, Washington or Houston? Okay, 2) which has higher population density? Answers: 1) Houston, by a long shot, and 2) Washington, by a long shot (like 2 1/2 times). I am unable to report on which of the two cities has better deli but, although this may be like asking whether Delhi or Honolulu has the better Alpine skiing, I doubt it's Houston.

The cause and effect was pretty straightforward:

There are fewer successful Jewish Deli's in DC because there isn't demand. People showed how, in a few different ways, that lack of demand was due to the lower population density. And it is correctly pointed out that one reason for that lowered density is the building height restriction.

You may not agree with the conclusion, but there isn't a flaw in the structure of the logic.

To follow your houston analogy... NY can go up, but not out. Houston can go up AND out, so it will have a lower average density. DC can go neither up (very far) or out. Therefore, NY will be very dense. DC will only be a certain density and that's fixed. Houston may have a dense core but will move out and thus be , on average, not as dense even as DC (though it will have small pockets with much higher density.) Tall buildinggs alone don't create the overall density, it is the tall buildings plus being locked to a certain size (like manhattan)

So if I were opening a Jewish deli, I might look at the dense portions of Houston... But of course I'd also look at the local demographics and a bunch of other patterns before investing - and houston being a much newer city, I'm not sure the demos would work even if the density does. In DC, I think you could make a strong argument that all those 'right' demos exist, at least in pockets of the city/suburbs.

But it is still a relatively lower-density area that is car dependant, not walking or public transportation the way NY is. We've pointed out the importance of that situation for the success of a deli, and how DC doesn't have that - and you could say that's in part due to the building restriction.

There are of course other reasons, including the relative transience, the religious makeup, the age of DC residents and other elements that contribute to a low demand for such a place. But high density (not just relative high density, like DC vs Houston) and a population taking care of life's necessities from the sidewalk, not the car, seems to be one of the keys to the success of such a venture.

And my vote is for Honolulu for the better Alpine skiiing: http://www.hawaiisnowskiclub.com/

:(

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Now while this is definitely not a NYC or even a Parkway Deli atmosphere, it is one that I think could work very well in this area.

That or a fancier take on the traditional jewish deli, like a place that serves a rueben reduction, or maybe has pan-asian influences. :(

Go figure there's such a place near lake minnetonka! But I agree, it would need something to allow it to make some money at breakfast and dinner too - which probably makes it more of a diner than a deli in the strictest sense.

Am I the only one who's mouth is watering for a good rueben right now?

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To follow your houston analogy... NY can go up, but not out. Houston can go up AND out, so it will have a lower average density. DC can go neither up (very far) or out.

But Washington can go out, and has gone out. The DC economy doesn't stop at the district line. I don't buy this line of reasoning at all. We have Rosslyn and Crystal City, which are obviously part of the economy of Washington, and they go way up, and they don't have any delis either. The height limit in Washington is a total red herring, and I would call it horseshit if I weren't so polite. If you lifted the height limit in the District of Columbia tomorrow, and they started putting up 60-storey buildings, there still wouldn't be any good delis in Washington. Do you think there would be?

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Let me put it another way, now that I think about it. Washington's more vibrant and dense Ethiopian restaurant scene isn't owing to Washington's being more densely populated than Manhattan, is it? No, it's because there was a wave of Ethiopian immigration to Washington and not to New York. Large numbers of eastern Europeans, particularly Jewish eastern Europeans, flooded into New York and not into Washington. They didn't go to New York for the tall buildings, did they? They didn't open delis because the buildings were tall, or even because the population was dense. They opened delis because there were a lot of east European Jews who wanted to be able to buy that food. As the density of that population has thinned in New York, those businesses have become ever less viable even there. Not because the buildings have become shorter.

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Let me put it yet another way. Those of us of a certain age will remember when Clarendon was known as Little Saigon. The businesses in the area around Wilson Boulevard and Highland Street were almost entirely Vietnamese in the late 70s and early 80s. Today, very few Vietnamese businesses remain there. There have never been many tall buildings in that part of Arlington. What relationship did the density of Vietnamese businesses in Clarendon have to the tallness of its buildings, and what relationship did the migration of Vietnamese businesses outward in northern Virginia have to the tallness of the buildings in the areas where those businesses ended up? Anyone? Did sky-scrapers in Fairfax County pull all those pho houses out there?

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Large numbers of eastern Europeans, particularly Jewish eastern Europeans, flooded into New York and not into Washington.

You obviously don't spend much time in Maryland - Jewish census estimates say there may be as many as 100,000 Jews in MoCo alone.

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But Washington can go out, and has gone out. The DC economy doesn't stop at the district line. I don't buy this line of reasoning at all. We have Rosslyn and Crystal City, which are obviously part of the economy of Washington, and they go way up, and they don't have any delis either. The height limit in Washington is a total red herring, and I would call it horseshit if I weren't so polite. If you lifted the height limit in the District of Columbia tomorrow, and they started putting up 60-storey buildings, there still wouldn't be any good delis in Washington. Do you think there would be?

I don't know. The argument has been that the lower density is a contributing factor, but not the only factor. So higher density might encourage a quality deli to emerge - but as you point out, doesn't guarantee it.

And the point being made in this thread is that a deli uniquely requires foot traffic due to the higher operating cost and limited appeals. To summarize: a Pho or ethiopian place can better survive on a smaller local core population, and may actually get car traffic - you can't pick up Pho or Ethiopian food in Giant. You can get deli meats in Giant - not the same mind you, but that's been the whole point all along - when people hop in their cars, they're thinking of destination food, or drive through McDonalds - driving to a deli just doesn't happen. So it is more about how the population moves and conducts business. And DC's height restriction contributes to that, as do other factors.

As for Parkway and the others being average... I can only guess they found a way to be average and still profitable. Which may partly be due to a longtime lack of serious competition. Like a small town where all 3 gas stations keep their prices up...there's a somewhat captive audience and no competitive pressure to make them better.

Which, of course, is due to the shortness of buildings :(

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Having been to Nashville a number of times, what amazes me is how a "jewish stle" NY deli can thrive there, but not here. See http://noshville.com Similar concept to Artie's on the Upper West Side. Seems like a place like this could make it here.

I lived next to Noshville for years. I thought it was decent. Probably marginally better than Chutzpah, with a large difference in the physical plant and upscale feeling.

I think a good deli could survive and possibly thrive in a relatively small space on the Orange Line. Chutzpah signed a lease on a space in Ballston a few years ago but the deal fell through. But without a steady diet of customers who know the real thing, any specialized place will likely deteriorate over time, IMO.

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I lived next to Noshville for years. I thought it was decent. Probably marginally better than Chutzpah, with a large difference in the physical plant and upscale feeling.

I think a good deli could survive and possibly thrive in a relatively small space on the Orange Line. Chutzpah signed a lease on a space in Ballston a few years ago but the deal fell through. But without a steady diet of customers who know the real thing, any specialized place will likely deteriorate over time, IMO.

I've been to Nashvegas once, and naturally gravitated towards the Vanderbilt area for part of the time. I noticed Noshville, but didn't try it.

The key is that it's in an urban college neighborhood, near a school with a relatively cosmopolitan student body. From what I could see, probably the only part of Nashville that could support such a place. Here in DC, you'd want to focus on the GWU-AU area. With a large group of NY-NJ kids/profs, I think you'd have a good shot.

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