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Farewell to a Swell Deli

Ellen Levitt

Posted on May 28, 2020 18:31

3 users

My favorite Kosher deli in Brooklyn, and one of my all-time favorite restaurants, has just closed.

Jay & Lloyd's Kosher Deli has just closed. It officially shuttered on May 26. Several restaurants I've liked over the years have closed; I know this is a tough business. But this time it really hurts. This was one of our favorite restaurants for many years. We ate here several times each year and purchased take-out orders. In fact, the day before it closed, my husband drove over (a less than ten minute trip by car from our house) to get a take-out order of sliced turkey, brisket, square knishes, soup, coleslaw, and other items.

Many factors contributed to the sad demise of this restaurant, a neighborhood legend for 28 years. But the COVID-19 pandemic and rising rent were the last straws for this eatery.

The food was very, very good here. I am not a big meat eater, but when I wanted a really good deli sandwich or tasty goulash, this was my go-to place. We had been taking our daughters here since they were tiny, and even when my younger daughter decided to give up meat, she found delicious things to eat here (especially soup, kasha varnishkes, and knishes). I ate my birthday dinner here at least once. 

I brought family and friends here. I recall one somewhat remarkable lunch with two old friends when one of them confided to us a very important aspect of her life. I remember another time bringing a friend of mine who is largely a vegetarian but loves an occasional indulgence of Jewish deli food.

Jay & Lloyd's was the kind of place you would walk in and most likely you'd run into someone you knew or recognized from the neighborhood. The two owners were very friendly, had extensive memories for your food preferences, and each had a quirky sense of humor. They were always asking my girls about what they were doing in school, what summer jobs they had, this and that.

They had been featured on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" for an episode. They had also been on local cable news shows. They catered for a local synagogue when it was used for filming scenes in the recently released film "Abe" (I was an extra in some scenes). Local politicians would make appearances and eat heartily.

But a restaurant such as "J&L" is a more traditional type of restaurant, and it didn't garner much attention in the oh-so glamourous Brooklyn of late. It was an old school establishment.

We'd heard rumors a few times that it would be closing, but it kept reopening, to our relief. But now they finally announced on their Facebook page that they "are officially out of business. We thank you for the years, that's 28 of them, that you have all helped us." Jay wrote that, and dozens of people expressed their sorrow in comments.

I'm going to miss their food, their good cheer, their humor, and their pea soup. Brooklyn won't be the same without them. 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on May 28, 2020 18:31

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Source: Daily Mail

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