Pastrami Queen opens another location in Manhattan

Long lines are a common sight on New York City streets these days but people waiting on the one that snaked around West 72nd Street on Tuesday didn't seem to mind.

"I waited two hours and it's freezing out here but it was worth it — it's like a happening," Bob Weiner said as he left the new Pastrami Queen on the Upper West Side with a $5 hot pastrami sandwich.

Carmel Caravallo and her 90-year-old mother also braved the cold to wait outside the restaurant.

"We wouldn't miss this for anything," Caravello said.

Pastrami Queen, which opened its first location in Brooklyn in 1956, currently has another location on the Upper East Side. The new West Side location takes the place of another New York City kosher deli institution, Fine and Schapiro, which closed in March after 93 years.

"When I saw that Fine and Schapiro went out of business I didn't see it as an opportunity, but I saw it as a necessity to keep the Jewish delicatessen alive on the Upper West Side," Pastrami Queen owner Jonah Phillips said.

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Phillips, who grew up on the Upper West Side, was determined to bring Pastrami Queen here, even after the pandemic's ongoing restrictions dealt a major financial blow to the city's restaurant industry.

"I am a New Yorker, I am here to stay, we are here long term," he said. "And most importantly, we are doing everything we can to keep the energy and people in New York City."

And so they decided to do their grand opening with great fanfare and throwback prices, hence the $5 pastrami sandwich and a 99-cent frankfurter.

"People need to have fun right now," Phillips said. "It's just tough times."

The $4.99 pastrami sandwich promotion continues through Wednesday.