As a Philadelphia resident who was raised in Cherry Hill, I haven't often found myself in the suburbs on the Pennsylvania side of the city.
I do remember going Bat Mitzvah dress shopping with my mom at Botwinick's in Jenkintown; between trying on dresses, we ate lunch at Murray's, the local deli institution. I remember a dark, tight space, pickles and Dr. Brown's black cherry soda.
Unfortunately, neither of these businesses are around today. (Murray's closing is, unfortunately, emblematic of a larger problem — the anecdotal and hard evidence that delis are on the decline  has been much in the news recently.)
So, when I happened to be back in the Jenkintown area last weekend for my Aunt Annette's unveiling, my family was happy to find Schmooze  picking up Murray's appetizing banner. The new deli has been open since fall 2012.
"It was the local community that actually wanted the deli back," Schmooze's co-owner Jeff Kalinsky told me. "Since I had a long history as a catering sales manager and my business partner was a chef, it was a natural transition for us to try something different."
The menu is diverse, with non-traditional deli items like chicken and waffles counterbalancing the traditional staples. Still, Schmooze carves its way through 250 to 300 pounds of house-made corned beef per week.
We ordered multiple varitions of two menu items —Moshe's Sunday Brunch and a The Meshugeneh — which larded our table with delicous varieties of smoked fishes and all of the standard accoutrements.
After brunch, everyone's satisfaction with the meal was as elevated as their sodium, but somehow my courageous mom found the motivation to pick up some smoked meats at the deli counter. Perhaps it was the nostalgia that resulted from our bittersweet family reunion
There's just something about passing bagels and lox around a table from family member to family member that just feels right. Aunt Annette would have agreed.
1595 The Fairway Jenkintown, PA 19046
The Bubbi Project