Living Large in Northeast Ohio
March 5, 2016
Kravitz success has been its ability to adapt. When the mills were operating full tilt, Youngstown’s Northside had a huge Jewish population in excess of ten thousand. Today it has dwindled to a community of 1800. Add to that the decline of the deli business nationwide. Back in the day there were more than 1500 traditional style delis in New York City alone. Now there are fewer than 150 nationwide. Jack attributes this to changing lifestyles. “People don’t eat large amounts of meat anymore.” Couldn’t prove it by me!!!!
Kravtiz has always done fabulous catering. Its “informal” deli catering is the bomb. But Kravitz also does high end catering. They are the exclusive caterers to the Mahoning County Public Library System and have done extensive catering at Stambaugh Auditorium, the Butler and numerous other venues. Jack explained the problem is breaking out of the deli food niche. Local venues typically supply lists to their customers of caterers allowed to provide service to the venue. The lists include the Kravitz name, but folks associated Kravitz with Reuben sandwiches…and that doesn’t cut it for weddings or business meetings.
What the public doesn’t know is that the head chef at Kravitz is one of the finest chefs in Valley. Chris Pinter was the former chef at Youngstown Country Club preparing country club quality food and beyond…way beyond. This is not your grandfather’s Jewish delicatessen.
Inspired Catering is a rebranding of the Kravitz catering business emphasizing quality, innovative and tasty edible creations suitable for any event. Kravitz will come to your home or wherever you might be entertaining. Youngstown Eats loves Youngstown originals and Kravitz is Youngstown original. Continued good luck to Kravitz and Inspired Catering as it moves forward in providing good food to the Valley.
Kravitz Goes Upscale
Jack Kravitz’ desk looks a lot like mine. It may look scary, but I know where everything is. He is getting ready for an introductory/presser event announcing Kravitz Delicatessen’s latest culinary expansion aptly named Inspired Catering. I was fortunate enough to be meeting some friends at his Belmont Avenue location a few weeks ago when his public relations folks were taking some pictures. Lunch turned into a gourmet event as he brought around some of the wonderful creations coming out of the kitchen…this is delicatessen food? Really? In what world? These don’t belong here. They belong somewhere else…with linens, crystal and candlelight. This is high end stuff.
I have been a deli fan and a Kravitz fan for many years. Not only does it have the best corned beef I have had anywhere, it has become a multicultural gathering place for the community. St. Patrick’s Day? Kravitz! Paczki Day? Kravitz! Octoberfest? Kravitz! Only in Youngstown! Although it doesn’t do an Italian day, I can attest it has the best wedding soup in the city. The service is always warm and friendly and the food is always good.
In 2005 Jack joined the business started by his mother Rose in a yarn shop back in 1939. He has steered it through many phases including a multi-year stint manufacturing and selling Kravitz Bagels which gained a huge following in the community. In 2005 he closed the Bagel biz to concentrate on the restaurant business. The Valley is better for it. Bagels are good. But a great corned beef sandwich is a work of art! The secret? Jack says you have to start with a good cut of brisket; know how to trim it; know how to cut it; and know how to cook it. Kravitz sells in excess of 50,000 pounds of corned beef per year.
Jack enjoys the Youngstown area because of its strong ethnic heritage. He can tell you the history of a myriad of ethnic food, especially from Eastern Europe. His talent is tapping into the various cultural identities and make them feel at home capturing the essence of their cuisine. Pierogi’s, Ravioli, or Dim Sum….they are all stuffed dough. It’s careful preparation that gives each its unique taste and style.