While many kosher delicatessens around the country have come and gone, Ben’s Best in Rego Park has remained a staple in the neighborhood for nearly 70 years, using one simple rule.
Owner Jay Parker, a Rockaway native, makes certain the restaurant is a master of one trade. The menu at the eatery has not changed much since his father, Benjamin, opened it in 1945 and they have not tried to branch off into other areas of the food industry.
From day one, Ben’s Best has produced high-quality kosher deli sandwiches, sides and classic entrees.
“You come here for a particular item,” Parker said. “People step through the door, they want to step back in time. They want to remember the old days.”
Parker assumed control of the restaurant after his father passed away in 1984. When he was younger he didn’t want to own the deli.
Parker was a bond trader on Wall Street, who was let go after his company was sold. It was then that he had an epiphany and turned down offers from other Wall Street companies.
“I remember walking out of that building and I said I will never ever place myself in a position where somebody else will decide whether or not I make a living,” Parker said.
The deli offers all kinds of kosher overstuffed sandwiches including flavorful pastrami, turkey, roast beef and bologna, among other meat selections. For about 35 years Parkers has been buying these meats from the same vendor.
Crunchy pickles, coleslaw and thick-cut french fries, golden brown to perfection, are popular sides on the menu.
The deli has various soups, such as old-fashioned chicken soup, which are made fresh from scratch every day.
The deli also serves wraps, salads and various entrees, including salmon and steak, but sandwiches are its specialty. In fact, it has unique sandwiches named after community leaders, such as former Congressmember Gary Ackerman, which is corned beef, turkey and onions with a Russian dressing.
The restaurant even offers a special sandwich-eating challenge for really hungry customers or people looking to push their stomachs.
The Ben’s Best Challenge is a whopping pound of deli meat– corned beef, pastrami, roast beef, turkey and salami– on a club roll, a 20-ounce bowl of matzo soup, a half-pound of coleslaw, two pickles and two orders of french fries.
Anyone who finishes the entire meal will receive a mug, be entered in a raffle to win a $100 Ben’s Best gift certificate, and have their picture on the wall of the restaurant and its Facebook account.
96-40 Queens Boulevard
Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday
And 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday
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