Finally, the Twin Cities’ first “Jewish” Deli?

This is a guest post by Jeremy Iggers, Executive Director of the Twin Cities Media Alliance.  It was originally published on Twin Cities Daily Planet on Nov. 1st as “Rye, Twin Cities’ first Jewish Deli to open November 14 in former Auriga.”

Okay, Rye, the new deli opening November 14 at 1930 Hennepin Ave. won’t really be the Twin Cities’ first Jewish deli. But unless I am mistaken, it will be the first deli to actually use the J-word. As in Jewish.

I have been a keen observer of the local deli scene for nearly 40 years, going back to the era of Lincoln Del and Bernie’s Deli. I have seen them come and go – Chessen’s and Zaroff’s and Louie’s Habit and Sasha’s Deli and Grill and others best forgotten.

I’m fond of Cecil’s and Brothers Deli and the Crossroads, though I haven’t been to any of them recently. But I don’t remember any of them actually advertising their cuisine, of matzoh ball soup and knishes and corned beef and pastrami and chopped liver as Jewish. In fact, at some of the departed delis, the menus seemed to go to great lengths to avoid using the J-word.

Until now. The press release announcing the November 14 opening date actually describes Rye as “a moderately priced delicatessen and bar serving Jewish and East European style foods modernized for contemporary tastes.”

I am really looking forward to this opening – Tobie Nidetz, the talented chef-consultant who helped develop the concept will be staying on as general manager, which is a very good sign. Nidetz and managing partner/owner David Weinstein are promising “locally grown produce and meats as well as artisanal products from local farms, cheese makers and bakers” and “a fully stocked bar featuring locally brewed ales and beers, a deli friendly list of wines by the glass and a full list of top shelf liquors.” For more details, see Lu Lippold’s witty and revealing interview with Nidetz and Weinstein, Restaurant team kvells over upcoming Rye Deli in Minneapolis.

There is, by the way, a touch of poetic justice, or something, to a Jewish deli opening at 1930 Hennepin Ave. Long before it was Auriga, that address was home to the legendary Becky’s Cafeteria, operated by “Christian businessman” Clayt Sonmore, founder of Thy Kingdom Come Ministries. Back in the old days, Becky’s served up good old-fashioned Midwestern hot dish cooking, with Bible tracts on the side – including at least one that I recall having a distinctly anti-Semitic flavor.

On his current website, Sonmore’s newsletter lists “six major deceptive forces that are working together in spirit to establish A New World Order. Although these forces may appear to the natural mind to be independent, they are being directed by the Antichrist spirit…

Number three among the six deceptive forces is “Zionism: World-wide Jewish Merchant System; Judaism (Orthodox and Reformed); National Israel (12 million adherents, but far more influential than their numbers suggest.)”

But then again, Jews are in good company. The other deceptive forces include Romanism, the Pope, the Catholic hierarchy, Opus Dei, Protestantism/ Ecumenism/ Pentecostalism: Charismatic Community; Fundamental and Evangelical org.; Old-line denominations, the World Council of Churches, Western Nations; recent democratic republics; Political Federations, and Socialism/Communism: China, India, Cuba, Socialist Republics and South America.

(Photo: Jeremy Brooks)


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Comments. Add Yours!


  1. First of all, it was nice to a column by Mr.Iggers. I was sorry to see him leave the Strib. Secondly, I can’t wait for Rye to open. And I send this shout out to the community, cut them slack if they have a rocky start. They need our full support.

  2. let’s face it, ANYTHING’S got to be better than Morts or Crossroads.

  3. Don’t even mention Crossroads on the same printed line with Mort’s. Crossroads has wonderful pastrami, rye bread,and the sweet and sour cabbage borcht is a classic. If you don’t believe it…let me take you out for dinner there or maybe for lunch for a beef on weck.

  4. I’m thinking some Andy Morantz-designed T-shirts are in the works.

  5. It’s a shame it won’t be kosher…that’s really what our community needs: More kosher restaurants.

  6. Thanks to this awesome article- – I went there today! Loved the borscht and the kreplach, and their schtik. But totally disappointed they have BACON on their menu. Come on, I understand if they choose not to take on the extra expense of a full-out kosher restaurant, but pork? Really? They should at least try to go kosher-style.

  7. thank you, Nadia. At least I’m not the only person who noticed.

  8. In order to survive, they have to serve the customers. And, for breakfast, most people want bacon with their eggs and toast. If you don’t have it they don’t come back and then you don’t have a restaurant, but, you have a Kosher style closed restaurant. So, get with the reality of life and if you don’t want bacon don’t order it!