When the craving for a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray, matzoh-ball soup, potato pancakes, and lox takes hold, the New York Deli and Coffee Shop has got you covered. The deli, and attached HKA-certified Bagel Shop Bakery, have been staples in southwest Houston for 45 years and is classic takes on favorites, often seeing 45-minute waits on any given Sunday. Generations of Houstonians have grown up enjoying the authentic, New York-style bagels and deli specialties served up hot and fresh by the Kornhaper Family. Last year this mom-and-pop (plus, son and son-in-law) operation expanded their “family of owners” to include Michael Saghian and his partners at Houston Concepts Catering (HCC). A local in the neighborhood, Mr. Saghian understands the importance the restaurant holds in the community. New York Deli and Coffee Shop provides comfort food, with special emphasis on “comfort” — something that has taken on extra importance and meaning during the Covid-19 pandemic.
While no one was prepared for the disruption the virus has brought, HCC’s deep expertise, coupled with the decades of event catering by the deli, meant the group was uniquely positioned to quickly pivot once Texas closed all bars and restaurants. Knowing their loyal customers would still look to them for regular meal service, the team streamlined the menu for easier curbside pick-ups and deliveries. “We, like other businesses, have been hit hard,” says Mr. Saghian. “But we are having fun with it.” Right now that means getting creative with menu items, all offered with a generous side of humor. Currently, you can celebrate the “Spudtacular” graduate in your life by “Exploring the Pastabilities” from their Graduation Menu. Choose from coffee shop standards on the regular and vegetarian menus, and make sure to explore the Tex-Mex, Mediterranean, and Asian “Family Packs” on the updated Dinner Menu.
Always community-minded, the team is focusing on keeping things as “normal” as possible for the “usuals,” those Friday and Sunday regulars who, for now, have swapped sitting in iconic deli booths for the front seats of their cars. Even as guidelines for reopening have eased, the restaurant is committed to prioritizing the health of the community over profit. “It’s harder to give specialized attention with so many people doing curbside,” notes Saghian. “But we don’t want to put anyone more at risk than they already are.” That means adhering to strict safety measures like regular changing of gloves, wearing masks, constant sanitization of high traffic areas, and reevaluating government guidelines for restaurants as they evolve. “We’ve put our needs aside for the betterment of the community,” says Catering Manager, Riana Sherman, regarding the team’s decision to keep the dining room closed. The sense of community extends to the New York Deli and Coffee Shop staff as well. “Leadership has been really great at rotating schedules,” Ms. Sherman says. “Allowing us to keep 98% of our staff.”
New York Deli and Coffee Shop will be celebrating “frontliners” with upcoming special menus on Nurse Appreciation Day and Teacher Appreciation Day. The restaurant is also participating in “Mensch Out!” Mondays which supports local, Jewish-owned businesses. A percentage of all Monday sales will benefit the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.
New York Deli and Coffee Shop