35 years ago I had lunch there with Rocky Graziano and we talked about a project based on his boxing career. 25 years ago I had lunch there with a couple of elite investigators for the Manhattan D.A.’s office and we talked about a project based on their crook-collaring careers. Before, in-between, and after, I had several interesting sit-downs with Norman Mailer, when he told me all about how to run my career.
The Stage Deli, in Manhattan, was without a doubt the best delicatessen in which I’ve ever eaten. It closed down last month, though, on November 29th. As one of the co-owners, Paul Zolenge, is reported by the New York Times to have said, “It’s a sad day for New York.”
Why did a New York showbiz legend shutter after 75 years? “Mr. Zolenge cited the cost of doing business in New York…The rent had gone up several times in recent years…[and the owners] were expecting another increase. ‘We just couldn’t afford to keep it going anymore.'”
A moment of silence, please, for a place where more pastrami sandwiches and TV ideas were hatched than even Nate ‘n’ Al’s.
Stage Deli, you’re missed.