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Co-owners Mike Dalewitz and Chef Nick Liberato will bring The Borscht Belt Delicatessen to 2124 Eagle Road at The Village at Newtown in the fall of 2022. When What Now Philadelphia spoke to Mike Dalewitz via Zoom call, he said that they are hoping that the opening will be early in the month but that the Newtown Borscht Belt Delicatessen will be open sometime in September of this year.
This will be The Borscht Belt Delicatessen‘s second restaurant after they opened a Stockton location in 2021. The Newtown restaurant will have a similar menu with New York’s Ess-a-Bagel providing the bagels. They call the restaurant “A love letter to the Jewish Delicatessen” and it celebrates the tradition of the Borscht Belt or Jewish Alps which were colloquial terms for the Jewish summer resorts in the Catskill Mountains that were popular between the 1920s to 1950s. A few of the resorts were still in business into the 1990s. If you have watched the film Dirty Dancing or the television show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, then you know a bit about the Borscht Belt’s history already.
The idea for the delicatessen and their 618 Restaurant Group came into being right around the same time when the Covid pandemic began. Nick Liberato, Chef, and host of Bar Rescue and Restaurants On The Edge, and Mike Dalewitz, entrepreneur, wanted to bring a good New York Jewish Deli to areas outside of Manhatten like Stockton, New Jersey. When What Now Philadelphia spoke with Mike Dalewitz, he remembered his meetings with Liberato where he said, “No offense. I’ve lived here now, six years at that point, I said, I go into New York City for my bagels.”
Dalewitz also told What Now Philadelphia that some of his relatives had owned and managed The Red Apple Rest in The Catskills. It’s important to him to preserve the history of The Catskills and inform new generations about Jewish culture and allow them to enjoy good deli food. In that way, he can honor his culture and preserve it and help it live on outside of human memories of The Catskills‘ heyday.
Dalewitz said, in a press statement about Borscht Belt Delicatessen, “The Borscht Belt Delicatessen represents everything my family, along with many other Jewish families loved about their summers in The Catskills: community, family, celebrations, entertainment, and unbeatable NY-style Jewish cuisine. Our idea with The Borscht Belt is to resurrect those memories while paying homage to both Jewish culture and all the iconic New York delis and bagel shops we’ve always loved.” The restaurant is also a family affair, even his daughters help wrap pickles for the deli’s sandwiches.
The restaurant’s Facebook issued this announcement about the new location, “The same delicious foods, Ess-a-Bagel and sandwiches (plus many new menu items), more seating, extended hours, and of course our nostalgia-inducing ambiance”. Those delicious foods include a selection of bagels with schmears and smoked fish, sandwiches, matzo ball soup, and breakfast items. Coffee, knishes, potato latkes, Challah grilled cheese sandwiches. There is one whole section of the menu dedicated to fish sandwiches and each sandwich bears the name of a Catskills resort like The Red Apple Rest, The Concord, or The Pines.
Dalewitz, Liberato, and their 618 Restaurant Group intend to continue to open new locations and mentioned a third location in the near future, but did not have a specific town in mind yet. The idea is to open restaurants in clusters of three to five locations and then move into a new area. The Borscht Belt Delicatessen seems to be on its way to bringing good deli food to many new places.