MIAMI (CBSMiami) – CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo’s face might just be giving away her excitement to sample some of the sumptuous sandwiches served at the oldest deli in the State of Florida.
In business from 1954, Stephen’s Delicatessen, located in the Arts District of Hialeah, is now owned by well known local restaurateur Matt Kuscher.
Matt, known as “Kush” to his friends is the 8th owner of this New York-style/Jewish Delicatessen. He totally remodeled the place to keep it looking exactly how it did.
“Actually I fixed everything that was the bones but this is how it has looked for the last 65 years. The only difference is I put my family pictures in. My grandfather had a deli in Broward so that wall has all pictures of me growing up in his deli,” Matt said.
But the most important element of Stephen’s Deli that hasn’t changed is the restaurant’s longest-running employee, “Junior” who has been hand-carving the pastrami and corned beef for the past 62 years. There are no machines here. Now, at age 82, Junior has his own station.
“The only thing I really did was put Junior on stage so you could show him hand slicing the pastrami instead of hiding him in the back,” Matt explained.
“What to you is your secret to your longevity, why do you want to stay here?” Petrillo asked Junior.
“Every different boss here, they were all so nice and I stayed because I’m not ready to retire as of yet,” Junior said.
So, let’s get to the food.
Junior delivers the mounds of hand-sliced corn beef for the classic Reuben Sandwich. It’s grilled rye bread topped with their own Russian dressing, melted Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut.
“The corned beef takes about 5 and a half hours to brine so its a process there,” said Matt.
“The Rachel” is 10 ounces of pastrami with coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye.
“The key with the pastrami is it’s in a steam box so as it stays in there it, it gets juicer the more time its in there,” he explained.
“Sometimes the simplest things are the best,” said Petrillo.
“Meat with a little bit of mustard makes a girl happy.”
Oh and let’s not forget their homemade matzo ball soup.
“This is Bubbies Matzo Ball Soup. You can only have one of these. It’s Jewish penicillin,” said Matt.
“It’s like a warm hug”, said Petrillo.
Stephen’s Deli, where something old is new again and possibly even better than ever.
Stephen’s is open 7 days a week, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on weekdays and on weekends from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
For more info, click here: Stephen’s Delicatessen