The owners of Rosenfeld's Delicatessen have closed the nearly 2-year-old downtown Wilmington location and will concentrate on a new Marsh Road site in Brandywine Hundred.
The Wilmington deli at 1204 N. Washington St. opened in fall 2020, just months after the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the nation's restaurant industry.
An announcement posted on the shop's Facebook page this month said the site had permanently closed on Aug. 7.
"With our Marsh Road store now open for three months, it just makes more sense to run all of our business through that location, including all downtown office catering," according to the post.
Co-owner Warren Rosenfeld answered customers' questions about the closing on the Facebook page. He said the Wilmington site "just wasn’t working without the office lunches contributing to our revenue."
A commenter asked what was replacing it.
"Nothing as of this moment," he wrote.
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According to a January 2022 report from the National Restaurant Association. restaurant owners are still feeling the effects of COVID-19 and the omicron variant, and 74% say their business is less profitable now than it was before the pandemic.
Rosenfeld's is a traditional, kosher-style deli that was started in Ocean City, Maryland, in 2013, by lawyer Rosenfeld. He also operates a location in Rehoboth Beach. A Rosenfeld's deli at the Salisbury, Maryland, airport closed in September 2020.
In 2019, Rosenfeld teamed with Big Fish Restaurant Group to create more delis. Big Fish, the Rehoboth-based hospitality group known for its Big Fish Grill eateries. owns the Washington Street Ale restaurant in Wilmington that was next door to the deli.
Before it was Rosenfeld's, the Washington Street location formerly had been home to a cafe known as Presto! Coffee Bar and later the Harvest House, a short-lived healthy foods operation.
Big Fish and Rosenfeld collaborated on a Rosenfeld's Deli in York Beach Mall on Coastal Highway in South Bethany Beach that opened last summer. A month later, they announced plans to renovate the former Goat Kitchen & Bar and another site in the Plaza III shopping center at 1845 Marsh Road in Brandywine Hundred for a Rosenfeld's Jewish Deli and a Big Fish Market similar to the Bethany site.
Goat Kitchen & Bar closed in 2019, a few months after the death of owner Dave Weir. Before opening the Goat, Weir previously had run Buckley's Tavern, a Centreville institution, for 22 years.
The Brandywine Hundred Rosenfeld's is nearly 5,000 square feet and much larger than the downtown Wilmington location.
A customer on the Rosenfeld's Deli Wilmington Facebook page wrote they were "very sad to see the downtown location closing. It was the only casual lunch place open on Sunday within walking distance. It was also good for downtown to have a healthy business in that location and a shame for it to be vacant."
"I agree," Rosenfeld wrote. "We wish it was a better location for us."
Another customer asked if Rosenfeld would consider opening a Newark location. "We’ll see. Right now opening up any new location is incredibly expensive," he wrote.
He said customers can get food from Rosenfeld's on Marsh Road delivered through the online food delivery service DoorDash.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Why owners of Rosenfeld's deli closed their Wilmington, DE location