I Know Who Robbed Hymie’s

Detective work on the Main Line.

Hymie’s Deli, the well-known Main Line eatery, was robbed at gunpoint this past Saturday night. I live within walking distance of Hymie’s and go there a lot, and I’m pretty familiar with their customers. So as a good citizen and a loyal customer, I wanted to offer this post as a public service. Because I know who robbed Hymie’s.

Figuring this out wasn’t easy. A small business like Hymie’s doesn’t exist for more than 50 years without upsetting someone. You can’t keep track of everyone who walks through the doors. But I’ve narrowed down the field of possible perpetrators.

For starters, it could be the Orthodox. They have a lot of time on their hands, particularly over the weekend. And after being cooped up inside their homes all day Saturday any one of them could be looking for a little release come the evening. Besides, I see them looking at us from the outside, eating our pastrami sandwiches and pickles and acting like we’re good Jews. They know we’re going straight to hell. But that’s not enough. They might want revenge. They’re not averse to risk either—just watch them walk their baby carriages down the middle of our neighborhood streets at dusk on the way to shul. Problem is, they’re too recognizable and their beards would show through any mask. So I have to rule them out.

Maybe it’s the reform Jews? But no, that wouldn’t work either. The robbery took place on a Saturday, and that’s when every self-respecting reform Jew is either in Margate or Ventnor, or trying to book the main ballroom at the Four Seasons in advance for their five-year-old’s bar mitzvah.

I thought for a while that it could be one of those ancient customers who I always see in the restaurant. You know who I mean. The little old ladies who complain about the high prices and walk out with their pocketbooks stuffed with packets of jelly, sugar and butter. Or the little old men who curse because they’re so shrunken down that no one can see them from behind the high deli counters, and when they’re finally noticed, all the rare roast beef has been taken by that aggressive mom with the jangly jewelry and two howling kids. But the robbery happened way too fast. And there were guns. Oy vey, guns.

Speaking of the howling kids and the botoxed moms, there’s plenty of that action in Hymie’s around lunchtime. And that may annoy one of those business people from the nearby office park to the point of being pushed over the edge. How many times was he late because the hostess said he had to “wait for his entire party to arrive before being seated”? By how many days has his life been shortened because he chooses to eat those overstuffed corned beef specials? Maybe a little sweet revenge would make him feel better. But no, on Saturday nights those business people are back home in Chester County, looking forward to their morning horseback rides and drinking their vodka martinis.

I know … it’s the owners from Murray’s down the street or Katz’s in Bala Cynwyd. They seem like Hymie’s wannabe’s, complete with the overpriced food, the non-kosher offerings and the surly waitstaff. You know they’re jealous of that picture on the wall of Lou Barson, the owner of Hymie’s, mucking it up with Jackie Mason. But I can’t picture this happening either. Those people are reputable businessmen and wouldn’t resort to such a low-class action. And reputable business people, particularly on the Main Line, don’t do things like that. Am I right, owners of the Bala and Narberth theaters? Yes?

Wait … it’s someone from Lower Merion Township. It has to be. They’ve realized that they’re throwing money away on new schools and new libraries. And now they’ve just agreed to pay their township manager $275K per year! Hymie’s is a goldmine, and a few extra bucks could only help the taxpayers, right?

Or maybe it’s someone from another township, like Abington. Those Jews have always been jealous of us Jews here in Lower Merion. And their delis totally suck. Maybe they’ve got a bone to pick. Wait a second … Margate and Ventnor. Saturday night. Silly me. I forgot about that.

Maybe someone from the Archdiocese? News of a big robbery would certainly divert attention from their embarrassing problems.

The parents of Lower Merion can’t escape notice. Many have suffered greatly over the years, spoiling and over-indulging their kids, and now they’re faced with enormous tuition bills for those obscure colleges that are, and I hear this all the time, “just as good as the Ivy League.”

My kids shouldn’t escape scrutiny. They could’ve easily pulled the heist in an effort to divert the Lower Merion police from something else they planned later that evening. Nah, considering what we spend at Hymie’s, it would be like stealing from ourselves. I heard the suspects got away with all the customers’ cell phones, so maybe it’s a marketing firm targeting either Philadelphia’s legal or medical professions. These are all just guesses. But educated guesses.

Sorry to keep you in suspense. You’ve made it this far. So let me reveal the number one suspect on my list: the Democratic Party. It makes perfect sense. Their President is lagging in fund-raising. The party is filled with a ton of Hymie’s customers. And I bet they felt seriously betrayed when their own, beloved native son (Lou Barson) campaigned for a township position as a uh … uh … uh … REPUBLICAN!

Case closed.