Matzah ball soup, briskets, tuna salad, more help community set their tables | Rosh Hashanah

Family meals are a staple for many when celebrating Rosh Hashanah.

Three local delis are helping people bring their favorite holiday foods to the table.

Gary Lebowitz and Alvie Markowitz, owners of Jack’s Deli and Restaurant in University Heights; Amanda and Kenny Kurland, owners of Corky & Lenny’s Deli in Woodmere; and Jay Davis, vice president of operations at Davis Bakery and Delicatessen in Warrensville Heights and Woodmere, talked about holiday favorites and the loyal communities that keep them excited to serve.

Jack’s Deli and Restaurant in University Heights

Jack’s Deli storefront

“We have matzah ball soup, that’s the big one,” Markowitz said. “We do roasted brisket, roasted chicken. We do chopped liver and, hopefully this year again, we’re going to do gefilte fish. Those are the most popular things that we cater during the Rosh Hashanah holiday.”


Jack’s Deli owners Alvie Markowitz, left, and Gary Lebowitz behind the counter.

Markowitz said he, his brother, Harry, and their father, Jack, opened the restaurant in 1980. Harry stayed until 1982. In 1996, Jack retired and Lebowitz and Markowitz assumed ownership together.

“He (Jack) retired and Gary worked for us and it was the logical thing to do, to make him an owner at Jack’s Deli,” Markowitz said.

Serving the local community is Lebowitz’s favorite aspect of owning the deli, Lebowitz said.

“One thing about the holidays, it’s always about taking care of families in the neighborhood with holiday dinners,” Lebowitz stated.

Markowitz pointed out that his favorite part of being an owner is having watched generations of families pass through over the last 42 years.

“My wife calls me an old soul because I know everybody’s father and mother,” Markowitz said.


Corned beef in the kitchen at Jack’s Deli


Jack’s Deli display case


Matzah balls in the kitchen at Jack’s Deli

Corky & Lenny’s Deli in Woodmere


Corky & Lenny’s storefront

Corky & Lenny’s has been in business for 66 years, Amanda and Kenny Kurland said. Because they serve the broader community, they have both kosher and non-kosher options, they said.

“We are a Jewish deli, we’re just not a (strictly) kosher deli,” Amanda Kurland said.

Popular holiday dishes at Corky & Lenny’s are brisket, chicken, chopped liver, soup, potato pancakes, challah, pastries and mandel bread, Kenny Kurland said.

“We wish all of our longtime customers a happy and healthy new year, and we’re looking forward to serving them in the future,” Amanda Kurland said.


Corky & Lenny’s dessert display case


Corky & Lenny’s employee Ronald Benton at the cash register.


Corky & Lenny’s display case


Corky & Lenny’s dining room

Davis Bakery and Delicatessen in Warrensville Heights and Woodmere


Davis Bakery and Delicatessen storefront

Davis Bakery, which has been in operation for 83 years, serves beef brisket, matzah ball soup, noodle kugels, roasted vegetables, roasted potatoes and Israeli salad as some of their most popular dishes during Rosh Hashanah, said Jay Davis, vice president of operations .


Jay Davis, vice president of operations, stands behind the counter at Davis Bakery and Delicatessen.

“The beef brisket is phenomenal,” he said. “We roast the brisket here every day for the holidays, so we sell a ton of beef brisket. Matzah ball soup, naturally, a lot of people tend to serve matzah ball soup at their dinners.”

During the High Holy Days, people also gravitate toward fish and dairy, he said.

“It seems like we’re endlessly hand-slicing nova lox and filleting smoked white fish,” Davis said.

He pointed out that customers regard theirs as the best tuna salad in town.

“That’s not my words, that’s our customers’ words,” he added. “So, we sell hundreds of pounds of tuna salad over the course of a couple days and the same goes for egg salad, chicken salad.”


Side dish display at Davis Bakery and Delicatessen


Deli display at Davis Bakery and Delicatessen


Counter display at Davis Bakery and Delicatessen


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