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HISTORY

In the early 1900s, the eight Radin siblings left Russia and made their homes in New York City, mainly around the Brooklyn borough. Five of them, Izzy, Louie, Toni, Sam and Benny Radin began their restaurant careers, building Jewish delicatessens mainly in Brooklyn and later in Manhattan. For them, the business was paramount, centering their lives and families around the food, often living in close proximity above or next door to their livelihood.

 

As Izzy Radin was establishing himself in New York,  Esther and Benjamin Luban supported their family with their own  delicatessen at 65 Lee Ave. in the Williamsburgh neighborhood of Brooklyn, long before it was a poplular place for young people and their families. In 1916, Esther and  Benjamin’s daughter Rose married Izzy, joining the two restaurant families and unknowingly beginning  generations of a potential delicatessen dynasty.

 

On both sides, Radins and Lubans continued to create food establishments - lunchrooms, luncheonettes, and coffee shops alike, stretching across New York City, to the 1964 World’s Fair and beyond - even as far as Puerto Rico. In 1973, after years of success, the last Radin’s location closed. The delicatessen at 823 Franklin Avenue was a semi-colon in that family’s history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the remainder of the ‘70s and into the ‘80s. Russ Cowan—a great-grandchild of the Lubans—worked across the country building his skills behind the counter and on the road. From Miami to the midwest, Cowan built locations for Bagel Nosh, a popular quick service bakery/deli then working for well-known Chicago meat producer, Vienna Beef. In 1989, in southern New Jersey, he settled with his family and purchased the first of his solo ventures into the Jewish delicatessen business. Bread & Bagels was the starting point for nine different operations that followed.

 

In 2005, the Cowans purchased Famous 4th Street Delicatessen, a Philadelphia landmark, and transformed it into one of the last remaining enterprises of its kind. Over the years, with the Cowan family at the helm, Famous has broadened its impact on 4th and Bainbridge. With features on the Food Network, “The Rachel Ray Show,” and various publications, the appeal of Jewish delicatessen food has attracted a variety of visitors. Daily patrons include vacationing families, neighborhood regulars, and well-known athletes and politicians - most notably in 2010, President Barack Obama.

 

Years after creating a home in Philly, Cowan and his family continue operating seven days a week, curing their own meat, baking their own desserts and serving large numbers of people. As a fourth generation owner and operator, you can often find Cowan slicing fish behind the counter, cleaning picture frames on the wall, or changing a lightbulb in a case, just as his parents and great-grandparents alike would have done many years before.

This map features

historical family

delicatessen locations.

Click squares on

map to view photos.

"As we swung into Franklin Avenue I was shocked. It had become a horror scene. The first thing I noticed was that Radin’s Delicatessen was gone. It was the 'Stage Delicatessen' of Brooklyn, the eatery for ballplayers. Hot dogs (crisp, all-beef ones), were always ready on the grill. The hot pastrami was unfailingly lean. You never had to ask, the tongue would be cut from the center. And the service would be by huge Saul Radin who had the build of Carl Eller of the Vikings. Saul was a complainer, a whiner, even though he was a nice guy. The Dodgers were his life too, but he would bitterly bemoan the fact that he could only serve them, never see them."

– Howard Cossell

Franklin Avenue without Radin’s had to be like a man without a country.

1. 65 Lee Ave ΓÇô LubanΓÇÖs.jpg
2. 902 Dekalb ΓÇô Dekalb and Sumner Radi
3. 1112 Dekalb ΓÇô Dekalb and Broadway R
4. 60 Sumner Pl ΓÇô Radin & Luban.jpg
5. 49 Graham Ave ΓÇô OK Lunch Room.jpg
6. 1439 Myrtle ΓÇô Radin & Kirsch.jpg
7. NY Worlds Fair ΓÇô Florida Pavillion.
store8_140Laurence.jpg
9. 864 Nostrand Ave ΓÇô RadinΓÇÖs.jpg
10. 823 Franklin Ave ΓÇô RadinΓÇÖs.jpg
11. 1439 Washington Ave ΓÇô Radin & Gold
12. 1305 Avenue U ΓÇô RadinΓÇÖs.jpg
13. 2210 86th St RadinΓÇÖs.jpg
14. 1913 Mott Ave Far Rockaway ΓÇô Radin
15. 801 Ponce De Leon Puerto Rico ΓÇô Ra
store16RadinBros.2ndAve.jpg
17. 335 W 39th St Lucheonette.jpg
store19WaverlyPl.jpg

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