The Story of Milton Parker and his Delicatessen

One of the world’s most famous restaurateurs was born in New York City on January 10 in the year 1919. His name was Milton Parker, the legendary co-owner of Carnegie Delicatessen, a restaurant in midtown Manhattan, New York City which was famous for its pastrami sandwiches and corn beef.

Milton Parker
Milton Parker (Credit: The New York Times)

Milton was one of three sons of a clothing salesman. His parents died when he was still a child. As a teenager, he went to work at diners and luncheonettes around New York City. In the 1940s, he opened his own coffee shop but sold it in 1958.

In the 1970s, Milton acquired Carnegie Delicatessen in partnership with his friend Leo Steiner who passed away in 1987. As the kitchen manager, Milton was responsible for the creation of its great tasting, five-inch pastramis. On the other hand, Leo was in charge of welcoming guests and ushering them to their desired table. Under the duo’s leadership, Carnegie achieved national fame due to favorable reviews from newspapers and magazines but more importantly from word of mouth. Aside from its mouth-watering sandwiches, other must-taste menus include corn beef, chicken soup and matzah balls, pickles and cheesecake.

In 1984, Carnegie gained more recognition when the film Broadway Danny Rose featuring Woody Allen showed some scenes inside the restaurant. In 1988, it conducted a knish-eating contest with a $250 prize for the winner.

Milton died of respiratory complication in 2009 at the age of 90. He had a son with his wife Mildred. Before the restaurant in Manhattan was closed in 2016, it had opened two other branches in Las Vegas, Nevada and in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


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