Bottles of Dr. Brown’s sodas line the top of empty cases and signs on the walls advertise “Sloppy Joes” and “Smokey Joes.” Even though the interior lights were on, Deli-King of Linden has closed its doors.
The kosher caterer and deli filed for bankruptcy Jan. 7. A notice taped to the door of the storefront on West Saint Georges Avenue in Linden informs patrons that “These premises are closed” and that “These Premises and Contents therein are Subject to the Jurisdiction of the United States Federal Bankruptcy Court.” Eddie Levy, the current owner, could not be reached for comment.
“I had a moment of panic,” said Susan Schachter, Jewish Family Service of MetroWest (JFS) director of older adult and disability services, when she heard about Deli-King of Linden. She had a standing order for monthly catering of Café Europa events at Oheb Shalom Congregation in South Orange, and when she didn’t get a quick confirmation after providing a table count for the most recent Jan. 15 meeting, she started to worry. Then she got the news from the executive director of Oheb Shalom. “There was that moment of mouths dropping and ‘Oh my God,’” she said.
Deli-King of Linden was one of three Deli-King storefronts originally opened 53 years ago by Leonard Posnock, then owner and president of Newark-based Shofar Kosher Foods Inc. In addition to Linden, there was also a Deli-King in Highland Park, long since closed, and another, still in operation, in Clark. All three were sold to different owners “probably 20 years ago,” Posnock told NJJN from California, where the Monroe resident spends the winter.
“I have a lump in my throat,” Posnock said upon hearing the news. “Deli-King was good to my family.”
Posnock told NJJN that when he launched the franchise, he saw the delis as a “fun” way to supply the Union County Jewish community with kosher food. “My wife and I worked there; my son worked in the kitchen for a while,” he said. He views the closing as “a sign of the times,” referring to the demise of small mom-and-pop shops.
He said he was sad for current owner Eddie Levy, who he praised as “one of the hardest working individuals I have ever met,” adding, “It’s not an easy business.”
For that Jan. 15 Café Europa meeting, JFS ultimately contacted Deli-King of Clark, and “it all worked out really well,” according to Schachter. But she says she is mourning the loss of the rugelach served by Deli-King of Linden. “They were really good.”
The Shofar brand was discontinued in 2008. By then it had been bought by Sara Lee Corp, which decided to leave the kosher meat business. However, there’s still a bright yellow, orange, and blue neon sign advertising Shofar kosher delicatessen in the window of Deli-King of Linden.
Editor’s note: NJJN is among the entities owed money by Deli-King of Linden.