by Annette van de Kamp-Wright, Editor, Jewish Press
It was 2010 when Mike Silverman and Josh Gurock decided to bring the Lower East Side to Omaha. They’d been dreaming about it: the garlicky aromas and raucous atmosphere of the New York deli right in our own backyard. After extensive research and countless calls to their mothers, they amassed the authentic recipes needed for such an endeavor. With the assistance of Director of Food Service Mike Aparo, Star Deli opened its doors.
That first menu already included all the staples, like matzah ball soup, pastrami and corned beef, and, of course, kreplach and knishes. Other menu items have changed and been added throughout the years, such as fried matzah balls and the infamous Dairy Deli.
“When we started,” Mike Aparo says, “we were buying our sandwich meat from New York. It was kosher, but it was processed. In our third year, we started making our own corned beef. After doing more research, we purchased our own smoker, and we started smoking our own pastrami.”
The Goldberg sandwich was added to the menu (eight lbs. total in challah, meat, coleslaw and two types of fries!) as was a special kosher-for-Passover deli with matzah brei, matzah rolls, and of course, the famous Latke Reuben. From time to time there are special evening dinners, as during Sukkot and BBQ-nights.
Having your food Gurocked is another new staple:
When Josh left,” Aparo says, “we told him he could make one permanent change to the menu, and we would name it after him. He chose to offer the frying of any menu item. Ask for your order to be Gurocked, and we’ll deep fry it.”
In addition to providing fresh baked challah to the customers each Friday, the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home’s kitchen also bakes rye bread from scratch these days, and, over the years, has introduced the Weekly Special. That special, on Friday, July 31, will consist of deep discounts: Star Deli is offering $5 whole corned beef and pastrami sandwiches to celebrate its five-year anniversary.
“We are doing this to say thank you to the community,” Aparo says. “Over the last five years, we’ve built a solid customer base. We appreciate how much members of this community have supported the deli and how loyal they are. They keep coming back, and if they’re short on time, they take advantage of our take-out options. People come to visit and kibbitz, or to pick up a kosher dinner to enjoy later, or to order deli meat by the pound because they love our food. We cannot think of a better way to celebrate the last five years than to invite you all to come and have a $5 sandwich.”