NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, October 3, 2016, 4:59 PM
The former Carnegie Deli dishwasher who now wants to buy the restaurant before it closes for good on Dec. 31 is being treated like mayonnaise on pastrami by the current owner.
Sam Musovic, who started his career at the lowest level of the iconic sandwich shop but went on to open three Upper East Side restaurants of his own, says he’s raised $ 5 million — with the potential for more — yet Carnegie owner Marian Harper Levine won’t even break bread with him.
Canadians Abby and Stephen Northrup said they were very pleased with the deli sandwiches.
“She wants to close it down, so why not even listen to my offer — I have $ 5 million right now and can get more,” said Musovic, who says he worked as a dishwasher for one year in the mid-1970s. “I can offer her a share in the profits, but she won’t talk about it. She wants to close something that is as much a part of New York City as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. She doesn’t want to run it? Fine, so consider my offer.”
Musovic went public on Monday on the sidewalk outside Carnegie Deli — but all he got was seltzer in the face. As Musovic spoke to the press, a Carnegie manager shouted that the offer was nothing but a “B.S. publicity stunt.”
“The owner is in the prime of her life and she wants to retire,” said the manager, John Gentile. “Everyone else does it, why can’t she?”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Levine issued a statement saying that Levine has “no intentions of continuing” operating the restaurant.
Upper East Side restaurateur Sam Musovic, flanked by his sons Johnny (left) and Sam Jr., says he’s raised $ 5 million to buy the Carnegie Deli before it closes on Dec. 31.
Fine, but what about a sale? Rosh Hashana be damned — I followed up with Levine’s flack about whether the owner would even consider a sale, and got back some more bum steer:
“Marian will focus her time on licensing the iconic Carnegie Deli brand and selling Carnegie Deli’s world-famous products for wholesale distribution,” the statement said. “There is no interest in discussing the sale of Carnegie Deli on Seventh Avenue with Musovic at this time.”
Not every pastrami sandwich is this big, but this is what tourists line up for.
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
No sale? What’s a “brand” without a flagship location? And what of the dozens of workers who toil there every day?
That’s why closing the Carnegie Deli makes about as much sense as ordering a Waldorf salad there (please don’t do that).
In happier times: Marian Harper Levine, the owner of the Carnegie Deli, after a positive ruling in her divorce case last year. Now Levine wants to close her iconic deli.
Levine’s restaurant, famed for its overstuffed sandwiches and long celebrity clientele, has been rocked by turmoil for years. It survived the bitter divorce of Levine and her former co-owner husband Sandy several years ago after revelations that he has been cheating on her both physically and financially with a waitress. And it survived a lawsuit by underpaid workers, who eventually won a $ 2.65 million settlement in 2014.
And it even survived a 10-month closure and negative publicity from having an illegal gas hookup before finally reopening in February.
Long lines are common outside the Carnegie Deli, which is slated to close on Dec. 31.
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
So after all that tsurris — and with long lines of tourists happily forking over $ 19.99 for an artery-stiffening mound of pastrami — why close instead of sell? Why not at least listen to Musovic, who owns Sojourn, Vero and Selena Rosa restaurants?
I don’t have a dog in this fight except beef and the occasional pork or salmon. But to me, losing a 79-year-old deli that’s still damn good would be a fate worse than death.
So Marian, pick up the phone.