Darwin Gomez serving up a furter with all the fixings at Katzs Delicatessan.
Katzs Delicatessan says sale rumors are baloney
By Lincoln Anderson
Although news articles, bloggers and neighborhood whisperings keep insisting that Katzs Delicatessan has been bought by a developer, its owners say all the talk is, well, just chopped liver. Last Friday, when The Villager called to inquire if the legendary Lower East Side eatery indeed had been sold, co-owner Alan Dell quashed the rumors like a potato pancake.
Laughing heartily, he said, Youre talking to the owner. No it wasnt.
Dell said, however, that while they would like to take advantage of the propertys copious air rights, they dont want to do it at the cost of the historic deli.
Basically, what wed like to do is to build above, but keep the store below, he said. Business is really good. Theres no reason to end the business. Weve been here so long, 120 years.
As for what might someday rise above the delicatessen at E. Houston and Ludlow Sts., it possibly could be a hotel or high-end condos, but right now, Dell said, its all just speculation.
So is whether a future tower might take the shape of a giant all-beef hot dog or perhaps a pastrami sandwich, the latter which could be known as The Pastrami.
Dell added they would only sell their air rights for a hefty sum, like a stupid number like $50 million.
Meanwhile, he said, Katzs is being buoyed by increased tourism from the pathetically weak U.S. dollar. While new construction in the neighborhood like of The Ludlow, a luxury tower across the street from Katzs might be expected to increase business, Dell said thats not really the delis bread and butter. Most of their business actually is not from the neighborhood, but from people coming from out of state and tourists, Dell said.
Whats really helping at the moment is tourism, he said. After Sept. 11, the whole neighborhood closed down for a few weeks. We just brought food down to Ground Zero. Now tourism is back though not quite like before, despite what the city is saying. We have a pretty good number of tourists. The bulk are from Britain. But also Latvia and Romania and Thailand. Who ever heard of tourists from Thailand? Also helping boost sales, ironically, are regular reports of Katzs demise. The rumor mill has really ramped up in the last six to eight months, thanks to all the false reports, he said.
Its really good for us, Dell said, because people say, Weve heard youre closing next week.
Theyre coming for their last fix.