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Where the Hell Are Our Jewish Delis?


Pastrami on rye - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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  • Pastrami on rye

Since San Antonio is a foodie destination with restaurants like Cured and Hot Joy garnering national attention and praise, I can’t help noticing the absolute lack of an authentic Jewish deli here in town. A great number of large, multicultural cities offer restaurants that satisfy the Jewish palate. Take Katz's Deli in Houston, Ben's Kosher Deli in Boca Raton, Florida, or the more famous Katz's of Jewish epicenter of New York City. They all satisfy diners' cravings for staples like matzo ball soup, fresh challah, pastrami on rye, and of course potato latkes. But search for a satisfactory place in San Antonio that serves these items and you come up short.   

I was born and raised here and have unfortunately had the opportunity to see the rise and fall of many of these delis with none of them having the staying power to make it. Max's Deli had a good run in the Huebner Oaks Shopping Center before it closed, for example. But these days, where is a nice Jewish boy supposed to warm his soul with a great ball of matzo ball soup in these parts?

We have such a rich food culture here with ethnicities across the board being represented, and there is a thriving SA Jewish population, particularly in north central San Antonio. So how can such a gross oversight occur? Is the food itself just not ‘cool’ enough to get the love it deserves? You show me an uncool bowl of kasha varnishkes, and I’ll show you a liar.

The fact that we are such a proud culture, never failing to correct someone when they refer to a winter holiday as ‘Christmas Break’, is what I find most surprising about the sheer lack of representation of the food front. Why hasn’t someone taken this by the reins and opened up a deli with all the old favorites that everyone enjoys as well as new spins on them? You can’t sit there and tell me matzo migas or challah French toast wouldn’t be on point.

So please SA, I beg you, make a Jewish boy and his mother happy and open a kick ass Jewish deli. It would be such a mitzvah. 

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