Wednesday, December 21, 2016

First delicatessens in United States

Delicatessen is an adaptation, borrowing from the French, and German words referring to the place where one bought delicatesse, ‘delicious things’, such as cured meats and cheese. Germans prefer to open so-called delicatessens, retail stores that sold specialty food items.

According to Artemas Ward chronicler of the nineteenth century grocery trade, the first delicatessen in America opened on Grand Street in New York City around 1868. At that time, Manhattan’s Lower East had a substantial German immigrant population.

The deli evolved from an effort of the residents who began selling homemade foods from their tiny tenement apartments and pushcarts. At some point, the first budding entrepreneur saw a business opportunity and moved the home or mobile operation into storefront.

At the delicatessens, one could grocery shop for kosher foods, fresh meats, salads, fish, bread, pickles, knishes and other products or sit at the counter or tables to enjoy a gargantuan corned beef sandwich or piece of cheesecakes. German delicatessens stores in New York did a brisk business especially at Christmas time by purveying dozens of kind of sausages, smoked goose breast, apricot jam, honey cake and plum duff.

Delicatessens attracted not only German Americans but also passerbies who were enticed by the windows displaying foreign and ‘fancy’ foods.

As the flood of German immigrants into New York continued into the 1920s, the German delicatessen evolved. Some of the delis began to look less like meat shop and more like restaurants. Although centered in New York, where there were over five thousands delis by the mid 1930s, these institutions quickly spread across the United States.
First delicatessens in United States

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