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New York Jewish steakhouse Sammy’s Roumanian is set to return after closing in January 2021 due to the pandemic. The restaurant, known for its Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine and vodka, which gave it the nickname, “where every evening was a bar mitzvah”, has applied for a liquor license and is in the process of securing a lease on a new building. Sammy’s first opened in New York’s Lower East Side in 1975 and had been in operation for 47 years, most recently run by owner Stan Zimmerman’s son, David.
Iconic Jewish restaurant Sammy’s Roumanian reopens in New York
Iconic Jewish steakhouse Sammy’s Roumanian, the Lower East Side establishment famous for chopped liver, decanters of schmaltz on the tables, and its flamboyant artist Dani Luv, is gearing up for a comeback. JTA writes about this.
A restaurant with an Ashkenazi (Jewish sub-ethnic) slant, which closed in January 2021, is in the process of securing a lease on the building at 191 Orchard St. In addition, the restaurant has applied for a liquor license. A meeting on this issue is scheduled for mid-May. Before obtaining a license, the restaurant cannot open.
Alcohol – in particular, vodka – was an integral part of Sammy’s Roumanian. No wonder it was called the place “where every evening was a bar mitzvah.”
Restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton wrote of owner Stan Zimmerman in 1978: “Mr. Zimmerman made Sammy’s a huge success, lively, bohemian. Here is a mixture of clients that includes judges and politicians, union officials and artists in jeans and aristocrats in Gucci outfits.”
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Zimmerman was able to organize such a successful institution in the basement at 157 Chrystie Street. Sammy’s Roumanian worked there for 47 years.
More recently, Zimmerman’s son, David, has run the place. Until 2021, the restaurant closed, unable to withstand the impact of the pandemic.
In the announcement of the closure, the owner of the restaurant promised that the establishment would one day return: “We are closing now. But when this is all over and we feel safe enough to hold hands, we will be back stronger and tastier than ever before.”
Since then, Sammy’s fans have made do with the occasional “Shabbat Dinner Series” featuring “Sammy’s Roumanian themed food” at Quality Eats.
Sammy’s Roumanian star Dani Luv also missed him a lot.
“This restaurant was like no other. The style was Jewish. The food was close to Jewish, some things were very Jewish. In fact, it was Eastern European Jewish food. Very simple but great,” he said.
There’s no opening date yet, but it looks like Luv and I won’t have long to wait for the return of Sammy’s Roumanian. But the restaurant itself does not name the date yet.
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