NJ Dining: Hobby’s Delicatessen

Hobby’s Delicatessen
32 Branford Place (Corner of Halsey)
(973) 623-0410

Web Site: http://www.hobbysdeli.com

The Jewish Deli is fading into oblivion. Few of these iconic centers of fressing indulgence are still left in this country, let alone the New York/New Jersey metro area. New York City’s Katz, 2nd Avenue and the Carnegie are perhaps the most well-known and somehow Manhattan has been able to sustain a number of others, such as The Stage, Ben’s and Pastrami Queen. New Jersey, however, has not been so fortunate.

New Jersey used to have many Jewish Delis. But with the changing of the times and tastes in food by our local diners, there are very few left, especially ones that still make things from scratch and really care about their business. One such place is Hobby’s Delicatessen, in Newark, the only surviving Jewish Deli in the city.

Founded in 1962 by Sam Brummer, a Polish immigrant and WWII vet (and a 2009 recipient of the Chevalier of the Honor of the French Republic) Hobby’s is a Newark institution. It is a true Jewish Deli in every sense of the word, although like many of its kind, it has had to adapt with the times.

This is a place you absolutely shouldn’t miss, folks — especially if you have an outgoing flight at EWR and want to bring yourself a little nosherai to have on the plane.

Hobby’s is truly kicking it up old school deli. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

This is proprietor Micheal Brummer, who took over the family business with his brother Mark in the 1980s. “Hey, aren’t you that Perlow guy that takes all sorts of pictures and stuff?”

A view of the deli counter.

Hobby’s pastrami on rye. It is indeed a generous one. But the sandwiches do get bigger here.

Potato knishes. Real ones, not those square commercially-made ones from Gabila’s.

The main dining room. Decor is… deli, with crimson accents of New Jersey Devils. It fits.

As like Katz’s deli in New York City, Hobby’s has a long-standing tradition of sending Salamis overseas to servicemen. Wanna senda salami to your boy in the army? No problem. Just make sure you call Operation Salami Drop.

Yep, they really do send salamis to Iraq. And Afghanistan.

Besides the typical deli fare, Hobby’s also offers a number of specials that are very popular with its regular crowd.

Every table gets a pickle bowl. I’m a full sour guy myself.

The Matzo Ball Soup. Or rather, this is what you get when you order a Matzo Ball Soup. Don’t order one of those. What you WANT to order is a “Homestyle Chicken Soup” WITH a Matzo Ball. Farshtayn? The difference? The regular Matzo Ball soup uses a commercial soup base (which is what regular customers apparently want) whereas Homestyle Chicken Soup is actual Jewish Pennicilin. I tried a cup of the real stuff and it was night and day.

This is the Yiddish equivalent of a WMD: The “Oy Gevalt”. This isn’t as much as a sandwich but an entire deli platter piled on top of three pieces of rye bread. Don’t worry, they give you more slices. The Gevalt is freshly sliced turkey (Hobby’s cooks about four 40lb turkeys a day), prime roast beef, corned beef, brisket, pastrami, Russian dressing, cole slaw, and a pile of chopped liver on the side.

Only about one or two of these are actually ordered at the restaurant a month, because the Brummer family only put it on the menu as a joke.

If you do dare to order one, you’ll need four (very hungry) people to consume it in one sitting. Otherwise, you’re bringing extra sandwiches home. Which we did.

An alternate view of the Gevalt. As you can see, the thing can barely hold itself up, it needs two chopsticks in order to maintain structural integrity.

Mike Brummer with his pride and joy.

So if you manage to still have an appetite after scarfing a Gevalt, what else do they have? Well they have fist-sized hamentaschen.

And locally baked stuffed cupcakes, which I hear are ‘Da Bomb.

5 Responses to NJ Dining: Hobby’s Delicatessen

  1. Maria says:

    I wish we had this in Seattle.

  2. Ron says:

    And yes they cater to vegeterians! Always a wonderful dining experience with lots of memories of growing up with these foods!

  3. Idrissa Uqdah says:

    I love Hobby’s! The pastrami/turkey combo with cole slaw is my favorite. Fries and onion rings are great also.

    But you were wrong. Hobby’s is not the only Jewish Deli left in Newark. Don’t forget about Bragman’s which still is open in the Weequahic section of Newark. I frequent both on a regular basis!

  4. Tara Lazar says:

    Fabulous! We’ll make a special trip soon!

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