Craig LaBan reviews the Jewish-Italian deli mashup that Laura Frangiosa and partners, husband Josh Skaroff and friend Brian Flounders have created at Avenue Delicatessen in Lansdowne.
The Avenue, opened in the spring in a tidy, rehabbed Lansdowne storefront that had been the long-running Doyle’s Deli, is a genuine deli mash-up – one part Jewish (Skaroff’s family), one part Italian (Frangiosa’s family.) It sounds like a gimmick. But when I bit into an arancini and saw the molten core of corned beef-studded Swiss and sauerkraut oozing from the risotto ball’s center, I knew this was 100 percent from the heart – with a side of Russian dressing.
Two Bells – Very Good
The Avenue Delicatessen: A welcome mishmash of Italian and Jewish comfort food [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Avenue Delicatessen [Foobooz]
Every Saturday was a great day in Lansdowne, Delaware County, in the late 1960’s. My mom would make Philadelphia Cream Cheese and jelly sandwiches, cut them in to squares and send me off with a dollar to the Lansdowne Movie Theater.
There I would join an army of children, all carrying snacks packed by Moms, to watch the Saturday matinee. It was usually something wonderfully terrible like Santa Claus and the Martians. There was also a cartoon or a Three Stooges short to start things off. And while you were finding a good seat, a man would play one of the biggest pipe organs you would ever see.
Now movies are shown in one of 13 black boxes in a non-descript building by the mall and you could be shot for bringing in your own food.
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The Avenue Delicatessen in Lansdowne has expanded its hours. The Jewish/Italian deli amalgamation i now open till 9 p.m. So plenty of time to grab a bottle of wine and check out the BYOB. The team is also debuting a fall menu with items like:
Fall menu highlights »
So word has come down that NoBL is shutting the doors for good in Lansdowne. Yes, the place has struggled (it only opened about a year ago, then closed after the departure of chef Sam Jacobson, then re-opened at the beginning of the year with a new menu and crew), but owner Stephen Wagner was refreshingly forthright in his announcement of the closure.
“Why, you may ask, are we closing? Simple… Not enough customers. Sad but true.”
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Remember back in December when Peter Woolsey was looking to give away some of his old kitchen equipment? Well it’s been claimed. The Avenue Delicatessen is picking up the equipment this morning. Laura Frangiosa, who used to work for Woolsey is excited to be putting the equipment to use in her new Lansdowne Jewish/Italian delicatessen. As you might imagine, Frangiosa can’t say enough good things about the Bistrot La Minette owner and chef.
As for Avenue Delicatessen’s Kickstarter campaign for a sign, they hit that goal late Friday.
Landsowne food scene has Sycamore, NoBL, Argana Moroccan Cuisine and a prospering farmers’ market. Next on the list, the Avenue Delicatessen, adjoining the just restored Lansdowne Theater. The store is the brainchild of Laura Frangiosa, Joshua Skaroff and Brian Flounders. The deli is looking to bring the Italian and Jewish deli traditions under one roof. The concept is aiming for a Spring opening but before it opens, they’ll need a sign. That’s where you can come in. Frangiosa, Skaroff and Flounders have launched a Kickstarter campaign for the sign.
They’re halfway to their $8,000 goal and already have some designs.
Check out the video for more details on the Kickstarter and the Avenue Delicatessen concept.
The Video »
NoBL, which closed last month to reconceptualize has done just that and is reopening December, 12. The restaurant is still Mediterranean and the menu is smaller, featuring salads, mezze, everyday entrees and specials. Prices at the BYOB top out at $14 and a carafe of sangria mixer is $10.
The menu will change weekly, with all the specials and mezze being swapped out. The everyday Entrees will be consistent for regulars to repeatedly enjoy.
Former chef, Sam Jacobson who was also the chef at Sycamore has given his notice so it is kitchen by committee for now. Owner Stephen Wagner is very hands-on in the kitchen for now, but will not be assuming the title of Executive Chef.
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Chef Sam Jacobson is leaving Sycamore in Lansdowne. Jacobson has been in the tiny but highly regarded kitchen for nearly four years and will be doing some traveling before landing somewhere else. Jacobson says he wants to get out of his comfort zone and continue to learn.
Jacobson was also the chef at NoBL, which also recently closed after a short run.
Here is his farewell post on Facebook »
NoBL, the follow-up restaurant to Sycamore from Stephen Wagner and Sam Jacobson closed on Friday. According to a message posted to the Lansdowne restaurant’s web site, the team has decided to take another look at the concept and business model. The restaurant is closed in the meantime.
Letter on the site »
Lately, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in Lansdowne. No, not to go to Sycamore — although I do love it there — or NoBL, where I still haven’t been. Instead, I’ve been frequenting a place right in between the two: Argana, a Moroccan restaurant that popped up earlier this year at the corner of Lansdowne Avenue and Baltimore Pike. Read more »