As the last of Youngstown’s Jewish delicatessens and a local business that’s been open since 1939, Kravitz Delicatessen has seen it all. The fact that they’re still thriving is a testament to the quality they’ve been serving for 80 years. This place is a must try in Youngstown!
In our interview Jack Kravitz, president of Kravitz Delicatessen, reflected on the lost art of the Jewish deli, “At one time there were fifteen hundred delis just in the boroughs of New York City. There used to be a host of delis in Cleveland. There’s really only two or three delis left in Cleveland. Nothing left in Akron, nothing left in Canton. Really no delis left in Pittsburgh. Even in Youngstown, at one time, we had five delis. They’re all gone. Either that makes us a dinosaur or that means we’re doing something to evolve the business.”
“Once you get that taste you can’t eat the other stuff”
This is a business that’s seen the rise and fall of the steel industry and is still standing. “We’ve probably seen everything there is about Youngstown, the good, the bad and the ugly,” says Kravitz. “Our roots date back to 1939 when my mom opened up the business. Although Rose Kravitz wasn’t the person that the Jewish community necessarily embraced, the entire community embraced her. She was the first one to really welcome everybody.”
“The north side of Youngstown was a melting pot of Irish and Italians and Jews and blacks and whites and they all came into Kravitz Deli,” a level of inclusion that Kravitz says lends to their success. “So we’ve evolved that by embracing other cultures. I think that’s what’s allowed Kravitz Deli to grow.”
“Part of it is having better quality,” states Jack. “We always have better quality corned beef and turkey. We cook things ourselves here, we’re not just opening up packages all day long. It tastes different and once you get that taste you can’t eat the other stuff.”
Kravitz has three locations:
- In Liberty at 3135 Belmont Avenue
- In the Poland Library at 311 South Main Street
- In Youngstown at Fellows Riverside Garden, 123 McKinley Avenue
Salty red meats not your thing? Check out our feature on Ely’s To Go, a vegan carry-out restaurant in Poland: Ely’s To Go
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