Earlier this week, Pete Marczyk, who co-owns Marczyk Fine Foods with his wife, Barb, shot me an e-mail asking which Jewish deli in Denver was the best. If I had to pick just one, I told Pete, it would be Deli Tech, a persuasively authentic fortress of pastrami, corned beef, knishes and black-and-white cookies that opened in 2001, shortly after 9/11, in a south Denver strip mall.
And then the pastrami hit the wall: Deli Tech, it turns out, is closed.
Its final day of business, laments owner Fred Anzman, was January 16. "We'd been in that space for ten years, and we lost our lease after throwing an awful lot of money to the landlord," he says. "We had until November to renew the lease with options, but the landlord, Shea Properties, which is based in California, simply refused to renew it." And that doesn't sit will with Anzman, who insists that the company steadfastly refused to hold discussions with him. "Everything had to go through my lawyer. They wouldn't even talk to me."
But Deli Tech, thank the matzo ball, hasn't been entirely wiped off the map. Anzman is offering catering services seven days a week and delivery (a minimum of $25) from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday from a commissary kitchen in Aurora. And he's looking for a new pod, either a turnkey space, or a build-out, where he can reopen. "I have leads on two different locations in the Tech Center, and we're definitely going to reopen as soon as I can nail something down," he promises.
And when he does, he hopes to have a bar area, a perk that the original Deli Tech was missing. "I have a full liquor license and I'd really love to have a little bar," he says. But that, he notes, will likely be the only change. "We'll still bring our meats, breads, knishes, bagels and fish in from New York, and everything else will stay the same."
In the meantime, Anzman, along with his wife and business partner, Barbara Simon, are still reeling from the blow. "We're lost. This has been the hardest thing for us, not to mention a huge financial burden, but we believe so much in what we do, and we're not going to give up," says Simon, adding that her e-mail inbox has been flooded with supporters. "I got an e-mail yesterday from a guy who was so disappointed and sad. He said that he had no idea where he was going to go to get his LEO -- lox, eggs and onions."
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And Deli Tech, notes Anzman, is still sitting vacant. "Every time I drive by, I just shake my head. I think it's called withdrawal."
Still, Anzman and Simon have plenty of chutzpah to persevere, and if you're hankering for the best Reuben in Denver, you can still get it by calling 303-721-6768. "We'll deliver to just about anywhere," says Anzman.