Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A bite of Delicatessen

The former Kibitz in the City at Seventh and Chestnut is getting new life.

A bite of Delicatessen

Delicatessen at 703 Chestnut St. At some point, the "Kibitz in the City" portion of the sign will come down.
Delicatessen at 703 Chestnut St. At some point, the "Kibitz in the City" portion of the sign will come down.

Matzo balls are due to start rolling again late next week at 703 Chestnut St., which was Kibitz in the City until it closed in November.

Newcomer is simply called Delicatessen, and the guy behind the counter is Elkins Park native Michael Spector, 32, who describes the concept as Modern Jewish Deli (think bagel and lox meet wasabe cream cheese and tobiko roe, mini-matzo ball soup, and the “Benny Rubinson,” a sandwich that weaves eggs Benedict into a Reuben).

(How about the name of the "Jubano," a sandwich that has pastrami, spicy brown mustard, half sour dill pickles and American cheese pressed on challah.)

Some vegan dishes (rare for a deli) and all the classics are on chef Michael Yount's menu, too. They'll serve "microbrewed" sodas from Multi-Flow, whose syrups are made of cane sugar.

The 40-seater -- whose seating includes reclaimed church pews (oy!) -- will open at the end of next week, with hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; dinner comes online in the spring.

Spector has refinished the tin walls and spruced up the tile. The upstairs will be open for private events.

When the weather breaks, the "Kibitz in the City" portion of the sign outside will come down, leaving just the word "Delicatessen." (Sort of like "Restaurant" on Seinfeld.)

Spector spent the last dozen years managing restaurants in both Philadelphia and New York, most recently working at North Bowl Lounge and Lanes, and for Libre Management. He's really into charitable endeavors, and has a "little brother" from his volunteer work with Big Brothers/Little Sisters.

Quick knish-tory: Kibitz in the City opened in mid-2003, a project of deli demigod Russ Cowan, who built the Kibitz Room into a Cherry Hill landmark. Not long after, Cowan sold Kibitz in the City and bought Famous 4th Street in Queen Village. Cowan later sold the Cherry Hill Kibitz Room to manager Neil Parish, who last year opened another Kibitz Room at 1521 Locust St. Cowan opened another Famous in September at 38 S. 19th St. Meanwhile, Kibitz in the City, which had gone seriously downhill since Cowan unloaded it, closed before Thanksgiving.

Here's Delicatessen's final menu. Phone is 215-923-4560.

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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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