Thursday, August 5, 2010

Charlotte institution closing

Leo's Delicatessen in Elizabeth, believed to be the oldest deli in Charlotte, is slated to close after Aug. 12, says owner John Maheras. The business opened in 1942 "five doors up at 1503 (Elizabeth Ave.)," says Maheras; "I remember because I was practically born and raised in it." It moved to the current site -- 1421 Elizabeth Ave. -- in 2002, he says; his family has owned it since 1976.

"Our lease is up (and) we're trying to relocate," Maheras says. "We're trying to find a spot in or around the area."

Have a Leo's recollection? Let us know.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't they have the other location near the old Adam's Mark also?

The one in Elizabeth..is THE ONE! I know people hope to god they don't close for good. I wish I had a building..I'd give it to them!

Anonymous said...

So are they closing or looking to relocate? Misleading.

Anonymous said...

#1 cure for the common cold (and the soul): Leo's chicken soup

Anonymous said...

Oh No...where can the staff and students from CPCC eat now? Chicken from Boj gets a little boring!

Anonymous said...

We used to go to Leo's every Sunday and have deli sandwiches and half done pickles for Sunday supper. Leo's was new, so this must have started about 1942. My mother knew about Leo's cause she shopped at Mr. Grier's store which was almost next door. That was a long time ago - seems like yesterday!! Hope I get there again before they close.

Anonymous said...

What about 4th st in that strip center by presby? They used to have a carolina smoothie in there,a sub shop,a post office supply,drug store,and other places that just don't do very well.I don't know why because it's easy in and out,plenty of parking,and right there at the light at hawthorne and 4th and would be walking distance from where leo's is now.I still can't believe that gas station in front of presby closed down a few years ago.That area used to boom,especially when anderson's was there.

Anonymous said...

I like Laurel Market better. Best sandwiches in town

Anonymous said...

The Leo's location on the ground floor of the Cameron Brown building (next door to the Blake, formerly Adams Mark Hotel) closed in July without warning.

GastoniazGdawgboi said...

Good Riddunce

This is the new Charolotte. We dont need those old places, how about a sushi bar that plays techno muzic there. Or and epicenter like place. Those are the places to be. Hopefull the new place would serve Miller Lite.

Anonymous said...

I loved Leo's as a child. I attended Elizabeth Elementary and I would come there as a special treat for a corned beef on rye sandwich with spicy mustard. At the time, Leo's was the only place that carried Wise potato chips and Altoids before they became popular.

The store also had this monkey on a wire that ran across the ceiling. I don't know why the monkey was there, other than to make me happy. They also used to carry these oatmeal fudge bars that were amazingly tasty. I wish someone would carry them again. I still miss them.

I loved Leo's! I hope that they are able to find a good spot, Elizabeth Ave. seems to be a challenging place for business since they constructed the trolley line.

Anonymous said...

We have a $37 million dollar trolley heading that way soon. Think of all the potential customers they will be missing!

Mayor Fixx?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they'll build a Subway there!

This city has lost all control and respect of what makes it unique.

Anonymous said...

Please come to Southend/Sedgefield. South Blvd. corridor of this area is transitioning and is more centrally located.

Henry H. Lafferty, AIA, CNU-A, LEED AP said...

This marks a sad occasion! Memories from the late 50's and early 60's include getting cold-cuts, rye bread, hot mustard, herring and dill pickles on Sunday night (my father's night to cook) when Leos was one of the few places open. My wife's grandfather's office was over the old Leo's. Who can forget the unusual (for Charlotte) grocery items, the monkey on the wire overhead and the other memorabilia. There are some institutions that should endure! Leo's is one of them. All of the "improvements" in the area have continued to eat away at the "character" that could be found all over Charlotte. Anybody remember the magic and novelty shop on East Trade St just up the street from Berlins Pawn Shop and Reliable Music? Sigh...

SCFoodLover said...

Hey John Maheras! There are several available store properties on Highway 521 here in Indian Land, SC, just over the NC/SC state line. And, we have NO delicatessens here. You would be extremely welcomed and anticipated!

Anonymous said...

The Charlotte Special sandwich was $1.00 in 1963 and was composed of mixed cold cuts and about 4" thick. Big money then but well worth it.

Ed Finman said...

Well what can i say; first i hope John finds a suitable location because i'm sure the deli business has gotten in his blood like it did mine. I haven't worked there in 42 years and i still miss the people most of all. Luckily, i've continued to run into friends made there from over the years and will hopefully continue for the balance of my life. I was supposed to meet two old friends there this past month but both invitations got canceled and now i guess it's too late. Plus, i wanted a photo op of three generations of Finman's; my grandson Owen, my daughter Sarah and my sister Trude who's supposed to be here sometime in the next two weeks and me. I started writing a little something for my grandson to ponder later on his life since he's only about three now. So, i've recently visited the emotions of my past. i have so many memories that it's taking much more effort than i ever imagined but it's lots of fun revisiting the good times my family had at Leo's. Here's a list of some of the food items that popped up in my head when i started this project; Leo's Special, which used to touch on one half pound often, cooking corned beef and tongues that made the place smell scrumptious, my Mother's sign, "Yes, we have chopped chicken liver today!" Chocolate eclairs, kosher hot dogs with fresh wooden barrel kraut from Brooklyn, 500 gallon wooden pickle barrels from Chicago, Baltimore & NYC, fresh bagels from Jersey City, NJ, ginger bread men, cinnamon buns,brownies, fresh lox, sable, carp, whitefish,sturgeon, salami, bologna, turkey, roast beef, spice beef, liverwurst, [all meats kosher and rated #1~my Father insisted on only the best] in fact if he didn't like it, we didn't serve it. My Mother Helen or "MaMa Leo as she was affectionately called by many as she sat strangers with strangers was responsible for bringing Charlotte up to snuff in the wine & cheese business; [no California wine back then except Almaden] she went to Raleigh often to convince the ABC board that it was okay to let the distributors sell to us since we couldn't buy directly from vineyards many great wines like Chateau LaFite Rothchild, Margaux, LaTour, Y'quiem, almost 2,000 bottles of the best! She wanted to import all 300 French cheeses but due to pasturization regs she could only bring in a few like LeBeau Pasteur, Port Salut, Bel Paese, etc. The other sign "The best people are our customers, and our customers are the best people!" was both Helen & Leo's mantra! More on the food list; Savarin coffee from NYC, whole swiss cheese which came in a 100 kilo round wooden box that my Dad made into a table top,using the sour kraut barrel for the base. Halvah, Manor Hill potato salad and cole slaw, over 400 delicacies from around the world like truffles, capers, caviar, coffeetime, buffalo ginger ale, Dr.Brown's sodas, even CelRay, black olives from Greece, imported beers, and lots more. They had a great catering business, real fruit baskets, meat, cheese and fish trays. Passover business, Christmas gift baskets. Whatever people wanted if it was kosher they'd give it a try.

So, if anyone wants to tell me a story that i can incorporate into my writings feel free to do so, I'm sure all our wonderful customers remember much more than i ever will, so have at it.

Keep Leo's open,

Ed Finman

Helen Schwab said...

Antonio Seibert of Lightning Records in Nashville e-mailed this:
Eddie's father, Leo, and my dad, George Seibert (Nelson Page jewelers on Tryon St., next to the Mayflower/Mayfair? hotel) were best friends--as were our mothers. Every Sunday morning, my dad would take me off to Leo's to buy ingredients for Dad's "special omelette," and they'd let me pick out a kosher pickle from the old-fashioned barrel (not "old-fashioned" at the time!) with dozens of green-to-brown pickles floating in pickling liquid. I was always admonished not to take more than a bite or two--so as not to ruin my appetite; I always ate the entire pickle and went for a second! They always allowed it. Leo and Helen were two of the world's kindest and most gentle people . . . the epitome of "family values," showing love for everyone they knew and everyone they met. :)