On Saturday we got to combine one old favorite thing (the Carnegie Deli en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnegie_Deli) and one new favorite (Amazon’s hit series the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel ). To celebrate the launch of the second season of their hit show, Amazon created a pop up recreation of Carnegie Deli circa 1958 (the real Carnegie Deli closed its doors in 2016).
The Pop-up was a weeklong experience that was created on Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan. The store front was a perfect recreation complete with the yellow checkered cab in front and no menu item more than $.99.
The pop-up created such an advance buzz that there were over 6,000 people who were on a wait list for a reservation. There was also the option of standing on line for take out (this line snaked around the block each day). We were incredibly lucky in that my son’s girlfriend put her name on the list when she first heard about it, and was actually awarded a coveted reservation for Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for her and my son, they couldn’t make it, so they passed the table to us! We toasted them with our Dr. Brown’s Cel- Ray soda!
When we got to the store front we were greeted by a period actor playing the role of a delivery boy- he was keeping the crowd laughing and happy by handing out cookies. There were also two very large and imposing security staff managing the two lines. The reservation line and the take out line. The were not actors, and were very adept at keeping everyone (literally) in line. It was a little chaotic- but the system worked. The checker cab was a big draw for selfies- people got really creative posing in front of the iconic Taxi.
After about 20 minutes we made our way inside. The restaurant looked completely authentic- complete with servers (actors ) who stayed completely in character. We ordered one of each menu item and waited patiently for our feast.
There were limited menu choices created in honor of the show- the featured sandwiches were the Maisel (Pastrami on rye with cole slaw and special sauce) and the Susie (Turkey on rye with cole slaw and special sauce).
There was also a hot knish- delish! A plate of pickles, black and white cookies and the Carnegie Deli’s famous N.Y. cheesecake- totally sublime.
Once we polished everything off, the “manager” came by to let us know that our lunch today was on Mrs. Maisel, but if we were so inclined we could drop a donation in the pickle barrel at the front of the restaurant which would benefit the Lower East Side Girls Club (girlsclub.org/). He let us know they were on their second (very large) pickle barrel. We were happy to oblige, and to climb into the old time photo booth which spit out a commemorative b + w photo sheet courtesy of Mrs. Maisel.
As a promo, this was brilliant. Everyone was happy- the show’s fans felt as though they were transported back in time and part of the action. Carnegie Deli fans got a nostalgic taste of incredible Deli- and fans of both the show and the Carnegie Deli (like us) hit a home run.