A pastrami sandwich awaits pick-up at Lido Kosher Deli in...

A pastrami sandwich awaits pick-up at Lido Kosher Deli in Long Beach. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Wally Goetz and his son, Russell Goetz, were nervous when they unveiled their newly renovated Lido Kosher Deli on May 2. “We were scared the old-timers wouldn’t like it,” said Russell, 27. The younger Goetz grew up in the business but came aboard full time three years ago. The customers, he said, were still getting used to him.

The first kosher deli at 641 E. Park Ave., Bernard's, was owned by brothers Bernard and Jack Schmaren. It had been in business for at least 30 years when, in 1986, Wally Goetz took it over and renamed it Lido. Thirty-six years later, the dining room was looking a bit worn, and the sliver of a takeout area could barely contain the countermen, the customers and the overstuffed counter that stood between them. Last year, the deli took over the adjacent storefront, a printing shop, bringing its total square footage from 2,300 to 3,300. A new counter was erected with plenty of space behind it for slicing meats and assembling sandwiches, and now there is room for a spacious sales floor with coolers full of drinks and a separate counter for the cash registers.

The renovated takeout area at Lido Kosher Deli in Long...

The renovated takeout area at Lido Kosher Deli in Long Beach. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

The dining room has retained its original dimensions but features new furniture and light fixtures. The western wall was stripped down to its original brick, and now both the dining room and takeout area have exposed ceiling beams and ductwork.

But the food at Lido hasn’t changed, doesn’t change — even when the great pastrami challenge of 2018 threatened the deli’s signature meat.

Lido has always made its own brisket and corned beef — which is a brisket that is brined with salt and spices before it is cooked. But pastrami is not only brined, it is subsequently rubbed with spices and smoked, and it is traditionally made with navel, the bovine equivalent of pork belly.

Since Lido’s founding, its pastrami was made at Empire National, a boutique kosher meat producer in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that was founded by Wally’s great grandfather, Hugo Weinberg. But Empire closed up shop in 2018 and forced the Goetzes to find another supplier that would make pastrami according to their specifications. Which, after a little shopping around, they found.

This pastrami is rich, juicy and — heck, why beat around the bush? — it is luxuriantly fatty, as pastrami is intended to be. For customers who want a less indulgent experience, Lido also offers pastrami made with a portion of the chuck (shoulder) that is leaner but never dry.

Russell Goetz, partner, hefts a roasted turkey at Lido Kosher...

Russell Goetz, partner, hefts a roasted turkey at Lido Kosher Deli in Long Beach. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

And speaking of moist vs. lean, Lido is one of the few places on Long Island where I can always get a dark-meat turkey sandwich: every day the kitchen roasts a couple of whole turkeys and the thighs are put to good use between two slices of rye.

According to Russell, the deli is actually busier than ever. During the pandemic, he said, “there were a lot of young people in the area ordering takeout. They’d never been here but they gave us a try. Now they are regulars.”

The old customers, he added, have been universally pleased with the renovation. “They all tell us they love it.”

Lido Kosher Deli is at 641 E. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-431-4411, lidokosherdeli.com

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