I said I was going to have an illustration for this post.
So yeah. Moving on…
Until a couple years ago, there was an Italian Deli two and a half blocks from my house. On the city bus ride home from elementary school, I would pass it every day, but would never give it a single thought.
But then my grandfather died.
Now what does that have to do with anything? It was getting late on the way home from the funeral home, and all of the kids in my family who were there were hungry. So we decided to stop by that deli and just get a few snacks. I got a bag of potato chips there. (New York Deli brand. Good stuff. But I digress) I remember wondering what the heck “kettle cooked” meant, as the only potato chips I had ever eaten were the regular Wise chips.
So I tried them. I was hooked. And I believed that that place was the only one in the area that sold those chips. I started going there weekly just to buy them.
Joey, the owner of the deli, soon convinced me to try one of his 6 oz burgers. Soon, I was going to the deli weekly for that along with the chips. (Incidentally, this was how I got hooked on blue cheese. And curly fries, but I haven’t had those in a while.) I also bought his Pasta of the Week every now and then, and a chicken parmesan hero when I wasn’t feeling a burger.
All of this was extremely good food, and visiting that deli became a weekly tradition for the better part of several years.
But then, rather suddenly and definitely inexplicably, the deli closed. I was heartbroken. It’s something akin to a favorite tv show ending. I would spend my days thinking that it was only temporary and everyone would come back, but no. Nothing ever came of it.
The deli now houses a hardware store that opens every morning at 6AM.
This is a complete change, unlike the pre-k class in my last installment. It’s really amazing what deaths in the family and good food can do to relationships. I was always on very good terms with all the staff there, just like a Manhattanite frequenting his favorite bodega. The food would always cheer me up if I had had a bad day, and the staff would always share stories and encourage me to do my best when I was applying for high school.
To this day, I remember their voices, I can still taste the burgers, and I still buy the same brand of potato chips every now and then. But it’s just not the same without that deli.