2016-05-25 / Voice at the Shore

Cherry Hill deli opens new bayfront location in Margate

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER
Voice shore correspondent


Kibitz Room owner Neil Parish shows off his new Margate location. Kibitz Room owner Neil Parish shows off his new Margate location. There’s a new deli in town. The Kibitz Room recently opened on the bay in Margate, at 9315 Amherst Avenue, at the site that was formerly Junior’s Seafood Shack. The bayfront Kibitz Room, which will be open only for the summer season, is a second location for the popular Cherry Hill establishment that prides itself on offering a true “Jewish deli experience,” said owner Neil Parish.

The restaurant, which makes “everything from scratch, including kishkes,” will offer seating for 50 inside and 30 outside, where people can enjoy “the best view on the Jersey shore,” said Parish. The deli will also offer catering—featuring deli, fish and dessert trays, as well as takeout and delivery, including delivery to the beach.

As of now, Kibitz Room hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and on weekends from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. But as the summer season kicks into full swing, the deli may stay open later to cater to the late-night crowd leaving Maynard’s, which is just across the street, as well as others in need of a late-night bite, said Parish.

The Kibitz Room in Margate will differ only slightly from the original location, which has become a Cherry Hill fixture since opening 16 years ago. While Cherry Hill offers only counter service, the Margate location will offer table service. The Margate location will also avoid offering menu items such as hot dogs and egg sandwiches that would put the deli in competition with its next door neighbor, Junior’s, which is now under new ownership.

Both Kibitz Room locations offer the same kind of authentic “Jewish deli experience,” said Parish. “In the Philadelphia suburbs, a deli is more like a diner that sells Jewish stuff,” he noted. In contrast, Kibitz Room sticks to traditional Jewish favorites—like hot pastrami and corned beef, knishes, whitefish, and cabbage. “Eighty percent of what I do is traditional deli food, made from scratch. I’m not selling eggplant parm, quesadillas or fried shrimp. I’m not knocking it, it’s just not what I do.”

Having worked for delis in Baltimore since middle school— including Attman’s, a famous New-York-Style Deli described by BuzzFeed as one of “21 Sandwich Shops in America to Eat At Before You Die”—Parish also knows there’s more to the “Jewish deli experience” than the food. “When you come into a deli, it’s loud. People know each other. It’s like the center point of the neighborhood other than the shul,” he said.

Parish was clearly destined to become a deli owner. Shortly after The Kibitz Room opened in Cherry Hill sixteen years ago, Parish, who had a corporate job in the area, went to the new deli for a pastrami sandwich. “Who did you steal the name ‘Kibitz Room’ from?” Parish asked the new deli’s owner. The owner bet Parish a pastrami sandwich that he’d never guess where the name was stolen from. The owner lost: “The Kibitz Room” had been the name of one of the eating areas at Attman’s.

After enjoying the sandwich, Parish eventually began working at the Cherry Hill Kibitz Room part time, then full time, and finally bought the deli himself, using his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah money to help finance the down payment.

Parish had only been to the Jersey shore once or twice before deciding to open another Kibitz Room there. The idea began when Parish’s son got to talking with Junior’s’ former owner, Roy Goldberg, at a wedding. Goldberg needed a new tenant for the recently closed Junior’s Seafood Shack, and realized it would be a great opportunity for The Kibitz Room. Parish ultimately agreed, and the rest is history—or at least, the start of a new chapter that begins when the Margate Kibitz Room opens this weekend. 

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