Pastrami flap: Saul’s Deli is in a pickle

Walk in to Saul’s Delicatessen on Shattuck on any given lunchtime and it’s likely to be packed. You’ll probably see Michael Pollan at one table, tucking in to some Middle Eastern delicacies and, if he’s in town, Dave Winer enjoying a bowl of their superb borscht at another.

But there’s some kvetching going on. Owners Peter Levitt and Karen Adelman reckon about a fifth of their customers don’t approve of their sustainable menu which is grounded on the principles of local sourcing, homemade and seasonality.

Why? It mostly boils down to nostalgia, says Levitt, a Chez Panisse alumnus. “We have so many culinary memories under one roof.”

It’s reached a crunch point and the pair have decided to hold a “referendum on the deli menu” on Tuesday next week. On the panel: Pollan, as well as Willow Rosenthal, founder of City Slicker Farms; Gil Friend, author of “The Truth about Green Business”, and Los Angeles chef and radio host Evan Kleiman, who will moderate.


Read more about the blintz and bagel brouhaha in my New York Times story, published today on their Bay Area blog.

[Photo: Dave Winer from Flickr]