Never mind that Westchester residents will have to wait until next spring to actually eat any of the house-pickled deli meats and traditional favorites like potato latkes and stuffed cabbage that Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers has been providing to the New York (and Boca Raton, Fla.) area for the past 40 years. For those who are fans of traditional deli fare, the recent groundbreaking in Scarsdale of the company’s seventh outpost is whetting their appetites.
“As a Westchester resident who has been working on Long Island for over 20 years, I’ve been eating at Ben’s for years,” said Marc H. Klee, vice president of the Westchester Jewish Council and executive vice president at American Fund Advisors, Inc. “This will be a great addition to the Westchester kosher scene.”
The Scarsdale location, on Central Avenue, will offer both a 144-seat restaurant and a second-floor catering venue for about 80 guests; it will also provide audio-visual equipment for Power Point presentations (or movies highlighting the bar or bat mitzvah honoree) in a 5,700-square-foot space.
The menu features such comforting fare as chopped liver, gefilte fish, matzah ball or kreplach soup, kasha varnishkes, Ben’s own pickled corned beef and pastrami, as well as lighter salads and sandwich wraps.
While there are other kosher options in the county — New Roc Glatt in New Rochelle, for example; Eden Kosher in Yonkers; Epstein’s in Yonkers and Hartsdale, as well as the Supersol kosher supermarkets in Scarsdale and New Rochelle — several restaurants or markets closed after the economic downturn.
For Scott W. Singer, president of the Ben’s Restaurant Group, the decision to open in Westchester was a combination of consumer demand and a desire to return to his roots.
“I was born and raised in Westchester,” said Singer. While his family started in New Rochelle, eventually they lived in Scarsdale and Hartsdale. “As a kid, there were quite a few delicatessens. I have fond remembrances of them, and believe that a prime kosher delicatessen would do well. Central Avenue is a good shopping location. I’ve been looking for 20 years for an affordable property to rent or buy.”
Although Ben’s is not shomer Shabbos, it only uses glatt products; for Sabbath observers, Ben’s will make arrangements for purchases before the Sabbath.
Singer added, “11 percent of our customers keep kosher all the time. Twenty percent of our business likes Jewish comfort foods. A significant part of our base is not Jewish, or kosher. We serve a broad audience.”