it was a bitterly cold evening in the city last night and we were not in the mood to walk or venture about needlessly.
We were chilled, hungry and in the mood for warmth and comfort.
Fortunately we were in the Rittenhouse Square area (one of our favorite neighborhoods) and had our choice of eateries. But we wanted something quick, casual and conducive to honest enjoyment and good conversation. And there it was: Schlesinger's at 1521 Locust.
Schlesinger's is Center City Philadelphia's answer to the traditional deli.
For nearly a century, delis have been a staple in the United States.
Beyond its home-cooked dishes, cured meats and rich pastries, the atmosphere of the Jewish delicatessen served as a gathering place for community and conversation, inspired by nostalgia for the old country.
In the 1930s Joseph Schlesinger owned and operated a deli/luncheonette in West New York, New Jersey. More than eighty years later, his grandson Allan Domb continues the family tradition with Schlesinger's.
Between 1881 and 1924, two million Jewish people immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. The majority settled in New York and then, like many others, began to move to other metropolitan areas. German and Alsatian immigrants were the first to open delis in the United States, followed by Jewish immigrants. These establishments fed the longing for classic dishes that became the staples of deli fare: matzoh ball soup, noodle kugel, potato latkes and whitefish just to name a few.
Schlesinger's Delicatessen follows this century-old tradition.
Best known for its oversized sandwiches, smoked fishes, massive desserts and traditional deli sides such as knishes, kugels, and potato pancakes, Schlesinger's is reminiscent of the country's original delis.
The decor is authentic-hardwood floors, wood tables and chairs, tin ceiling, mirrors and stainless steel deli cases. Expect to find lox and bagels, corned beef specials, brisket platters, kasha varnishkes, black and white cookies, a case of Dr. Brown's soda and good conversation.
Schlesinger's is managed by Louis Barson, owner of Hymie's in Merion and a number of other delis in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
But we want to add this: Schlesinger's is a lot more than a deli.
Schlesinger's burger is among the best we've ever tasted and it's served on a huge, fresh, crusty kaiser roll. Schlesinger's fries are fresh, hand-cut and aromatic.Schlesinger's also has an extensive dinner menu featuring veal chops, steak, chicken, London broil, ribs and fish of the day along with all the trimmings.
And Schlesinger's matzo ball soup is nothing less than heavenly.
Everything at Schlesinger's is cooked to order. and everything is made on the premises. The service is prompt and cheerful. And the prices are easy on your wallet. Lots of good, nourishing food for not a lot of dough, hon.
One final note: If the thought of plentiful dishes intimidates you, please note that you can order half-sandwiches and smaller plate combos here. The management aims to please.
We highly recommend Schlesinger's.
For more info go to www.schlesingersdeli.com.
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