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Restaurant vs. Market[edit]

Perhaps a "deli restaurant" should be distinguished from a deli market in the article. right now, despite being mentioned, most of the famous delis, like the Second Avenue Deli, etc. don't fit into the current definition as a cross between a fast-food joint and a market.


Delikatessen does not mean "delicate food". This could be an erroneous interpretation from "delikat"(adj.) + "Essen" (n., something to eat) which is correctly "delikates Essen". Yet "Delikatessen" simply is the plural of "Delikatesse" (delicacy).

Given the existence of a proper English version of the word it was never quite plain to me why the German word is used for some type of food stores (?) in the US. (Presumably because it used to be written on the front of such stores run by German descendants at some time in the past - spelled with latinic "c" which makes the word appear even more 'delicate' to German speakers -, but that's no reason not to turn to "delicacies", which is the very same word with the English plural)

As a native German speaker I would simply expect a high class grocery store when entering a "Delicatessen" shop.

I don't know where it would fit in, but I've encountered a related use of the word "Delicatess". In the early 20th C. (I don't have the date) a sausage company in NY City advertized in magazines : "A Delicatess Dinner, with Gomprecht's Famous Sausages". As I recall they offered a mail-order package that would contain sausages, condiments, and some other fairly non-perishable foodstuffs like crackers to make a dinner for two. Saxophobia 03:22, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Well of course Delikatessen does not mean "delicate food" but it does mean "delicious food", because it is not used for anything other than food while "delikat" just like "delicate" is usually used in the meaning of "precarious" ("delicious irony" can't be really translated to German without loosing some of its meaning). But Delikatessen is a pretty uncommon word in German anyhow, stores that sell Delikatessen are almost always called "Feinkostläden" (~fine food stores). Ben (talk) 12:33, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

As another native speaker of German let me make it clear once again: Delikatessen (Ger.) is plural and means "delicacies" (Eng.), which according to Wiktionary describes "pleasing" (i.e., "delicious" or "delicate") food. But it is, of course, not delikates ("delicious", "delicate") + Essen ("something to eat", "food"). If this was the case, the German singular would be das Delikatessen, not die Delikatesse, and "Delikat-Essen" would be a valid alternative spelling. In addition, while it is also a possible German word, die Delikat-Esse (sg.) means something like "the delicious chimney" in English. A rather strange idea...

@Ben: Usually, I would also translate delikates Essen as "delicious Food", while in almost all other contexts delikat translates to "delicate" (~ "precarious"). But "delicate food" in the sense of "refined" food is also possible, and not totally out of place. Remember that the German words Delikatesse and delikat certainly share the same ancestry, but Delikatesse is definitely not derived from delikat, so the correct tranlation of the German delikat is actually not really relevant in this discussion.

As a belgian dutch speaker I'd like to add that in dutch the word is written 'delicatessen' with a C so I'm not quite sure that german is where the english get their word from. In the end dutch is a germanic language too so they're not far apart but is english is an exact copy of the dutch. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:03, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

TowerDragon (talk) 15:15, 17 February 2010 (UTC)



"The largest delicatessen should not begin to approach the floor space of the smallest market."

Can other readers confirm this? I would guess that this may be true of delicatessens in Manhattan, where space is at a great premium, but delis in more spacious areas can be large. Should we delete, or modify, this sentence? Opus33 20:25, 4 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I put that in because my experience with delicatessens fits this, which has been primarily in Manhattan. Otherwise, I've found that delis are often a section of a supermarket, or other larger retail center. If this is a false perception, then by all means, let us change the article. --Cogibyte 02:06, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Thanks, Cogibyte. I put in a change to reflect variability across areas. In my city some of the delis are pretty big--proud holdovers from the 50's--probably not quite the real thing but an institution in their own right. Cheers, Opus33 03:19, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

  • Someone added a paean to his favorite deli, in a location where it didn't fit very well. I've started a new section to accommodate these paeans; please go ahead and put in your favorites. I recommend inclusion only of delis that are famous local institutions; note that Katz's and Canter's already had their own Wikipedia articles.
  • I've moved the Canada section to come after Germany, where it will make more sense.
  • I lightly trimmed back the discussion of German grammar, which was more than was needed.
Opus33 15:52, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

It says that a deli never has a griddle, but if they're making egggggggggggg sandwiches for breakfast there must be a fking griddle someplace

  • Don't just put in your favorites (particularly if you happen to be the owner). Find or create the relevant article first, or else the deli in question isn't notable and you can take the heavenly pastrami elsewhere.  Card Zero  (talk) 11:05, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Types of delicatessen[edit]

I came to this article looking for the regional differences between american delicatessens. For instance: what's the difference between a California-style deli and a New York style deli?

Wait, I know this one. Is it that California-style delis all say "Subway" or "Quiznos" on the front? :) Kafziel Talk 18:39, 16 October 2006 (UTC)


The claim of the German origin of the word is not supported by any evidence. Could we have at least one source? Delicatessen is a word in the Dutch language, and not in the German language so it doesn't seem very convincing. Piet | Talk 12:23, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Evidence would not be bad, if someone ca provide for it, but the fact that "Delikatessen" in German is written with a "k" today does not mean it has always been like that. The Orthography was not standardized until 1901, and "c" was much more often used before that. According to a German newspaper article [[1]] the word "deli" came to America via the Yiddish language. Rufus79, 7 May 2007
Isn't the "eat" suffix -essen part unintentional? If you take the French word délicatesse and make a German plural form out of it, it would become délicatessen, non? - Tournesol 12:07, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

"List of famous delicatessens"[edit]

This list is a mess. There's no "quality control" on it and no referencing. I'm almost inclined to say the whole list should be zapped, since I can't see how "famous" can ever be NPOV. 02:37, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Complete agreement. It's essentially a semi-advertisement list. The one "famous" delicatessen in my city (Melbourne) is located a 15-min drive from my house yet I've never heard if it. "Famous" in the shopping centre it's located in perhaps. There's also this listed:I'd recommend anything without an actual wikipedia link be removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:00, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

True "delicatessen" vs. European "delikatessen"[edit]

The eytomology is only tangentially relevant. A "delicatessen" in the US and Canada is primarily an ethnic Jewish restaurant, usually (but not necessarily) kosher. The original restaurants and stores were founded by immigrants from German-speaking countries, and eventually evolved to include sit-down dining as well as acting as emporia for the foodstuffs of Central Europe, which ipso facto had become delicacies because of their relative rarity in North America. The secondary meaning which has evolved is the convenience store, which has become a huge custom in North America. However, these are almost never called "delicatessen", but rather "deli"s. Undoubtedly, there are some European-style "delicatessens" out there, especially where there continues to be a large population of Americans of German non-Jewish descent. To complicate matters, true delicatessens are also called "delis" and have been for a very long time.

It's a radical idea, but in the interest of accuracy and helpfulness for the searcher on Wiki, there should perhaps be an article on "delikatessen" to cover the European institution, which is certainly relevant, but only secondarily to the "delicatessen" in English, in English-speaking Wiki. Even more radical, but still a recognition of the what's going on would be a third article on "deli" to cover the meaning for convenience store. A dab page could sort it out. Certainly the German delicacy store culd be included as another definition of "delicatessen" AS IT IS PRACTICED IN NORTH AMERICA RATHER THAN EUROPE (or possibly the UK or Australia.) I'll be glad to hear from anyone with other opinions. NaySay 16:55, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Additionally, there are without question many, many stores selling Italian delicacies. These are institutions with their own magnificent provenance. Are they really "delicatessen"s? Are they called "delicatessen"? Furthermore, the foodstuff delicacy store has become a reasonably secular institution of its own, deriving from several cultural traditions. The typical example would be New York's legendary Zabar's. It's huge, certainly traditionally Jewish in origin, has no dining to speak of, and encompasses large amounts of various other European foodstuffs, and (to a lesser degree) other international foodstuffs. The pattern was copied by another well-known New York emporium, Dean & DeLuca, which probably had the Italian model as its basis. (And there are a number of others, such as Barzini's.) Other major cities will have similar stores. But are these delicatessens? No, they aren't. Not by a long chalk. Not, in any case, in North America. NaySay 14:53, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

  • I don't think there's such a huge difference between the European and American versions. There are several types of deli, nearly all of which are found everywhere.
  • Having said that, New York (type) delis are a bit different and special and mostly found in North America.
  • I'm unsure of the significance of the spelling with the k. In The Netherlands and the UK, the c spelling is used. Perhaps everywhere that uses the k spelling is using it to refer solely to gourmet food stores, but I doubt it.
  • Some of the American ones are also to some extent gourmet food stores, as you observe.
  • Some of the ones in Europe are ethnic Jewish restaurants. (See the link to Bloom's, for instance.)
  • Did you get the bit in capitals backwards? I think you meant AS IT IS PRACTICED IN EUROPE RATHER THAN NORTH AMERICA.
In summary: German or Italian gourmet food stores aren't called delicatessens (what, never, by anyone?) in the US (but may be called delis) and therefore ... so what, that bit of semantics is no reason to split the article up into two or three separate articles. It is slightly jarring to see the admixture of luxury shops and sandwich joints, but the word is used in multiple ways, what can you do. Explain to the reader, that's what.  Card Zero  (talk) 11:50, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
"A "delicatessen" in the US and Canada is primarily an ethnic Jewish restaurant"
I have worked in delicatessens all around the US starting in NY and this is simply untrue. do you have some cite or proof that they are primarily Jewish?
And what is with your terms "American" delicatessen vs "European delicatessen"? I have never even heard such nomenclature. (talk) 02:18, 27 December 2014 (UTC)


No one in Europe would describe Subway as a delicatessen. To us a delicatessen is somewhere you go to buy high quality ingredients such as salame, charcuterie, olives, spices, herbs, speciality breads etc as well as ready-made dishes and salads. Most delis in the UK, but not all, will prepare sandwiches or baguettes to eat in or take-away. If Subway is really an example of "an american style deli" then God Help America. Saintmesmin (talk) 11:42, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Can deli food be forcified with meat analogue....[edit]

to reduce the content of animal material but remain consumer preferences??? I believe that the research needs to be conducted through sensory evaluations-- (talk) 02:37, 9 February 2009 (UTC) Is there any such commercial products available on the market, which lies between delis and vegetarian ones ???? To maintain the texture of true delis, I found that lots of commercial Taiwanese veggie foods have such advantages.


For those who want a source for the etymology of the word there is this:

1889, Amer.Eng. borrowing from Ger. delikatessen, pl. of delikatesse "a delicacy, fine food," from Fr. delicatesse (1564), from delicat "fine," from L. delicatus (see delicate). Shortened form deli first recorded 1954. For souce go to [2] and type in delikatessen

Norvo (talk) 04:40, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Delicacy vs. Delicatessen[edit]

I was just wondering why the page describing delicatessen pops up for the subject term Delicacy. Although the meanings of the terms overlap, I would venture to say that in common usage, most people understand delicatessen to be a shop that sells sandwiches, lunchmeats and ready to eat food products, where as a delicacy is often used to describe any food that some would determine as exquisite (even if others describe it as repulsive) due to its rareness, expense or the skill required to make or obtain it (aka, hákarl, haggis, Casu marzu.) (2: something pleasing to eat that is considered rare or luxurious <considered caviar a delicacy.>) (2: singular, plural delicatessens [delicatessen (store)]  : a store where delicatessen are sold)

Is there a list page of various pages describing delicacies of the world according to the dictionary definition, as opposed to sandwiches and prepared food? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 5amuel (talkcontribs) 20:32, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Just spotted this issue myself. Needs fixed. For everyone I know, the terms don't even overlap. A delicacy is thought of as an exotic food specific to an area (ie. probably not in your local deli, or only in your local deli as part of a festival or etc). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:42, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree that there should be a separate page for delicacies. Caviar, certain cheeses, possibly certain oysters, and others. I am far from an expert and do not eat delicacies often. I was browsing and I got to this page after reading Taste--Azemocram (talk) 02:51, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Section Ordering[edit]

The Europe section comes first, but keeps referencing US-style delis, which aren't mentioned until a couple screens later. This is counterintuitive and should be fixed, but I'm sure there's some obnoxious wikipedia politics about what order regional/national sections go in or whatever, so I'm not gonna bother. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:07, 16 August 2014 (UTC)


The history section is missing. I'm not sure I'm interested enough to add it, but maybe somebody already knows enough to get a good start on it. Alrich44 (talk) 22:24, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Issues for improvement[edit]

This article, and as I’ve tried to improve it, is about a unique historic and ethnic subject having not only to do with American culture, but European culture too. As this is the American WP, IMHO, I believe its main focus should be centered on here, not other countries and its history, affects, etc., on same. Thanks. Picomtn (talk) 14:08, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

I don't understand this comment. Yes, as you say, the topic has to do not only with American culture especially since it originated elsewhere a long time ago. Why then do you then say it should be centred on "here"? By "here" do you mean America? (North America or both Americas?) I might have misunderstood what you mean but the two sentences seem contradictory. Furthermmore, it is not the "American" WP; it is the English-language Wikipedia, so it serves an English-speaking audience with content from everywhere. It tries to accommodate the long reach of history and culture and cannot usefully restrict itself to a couple of hundred years in part of one continent. (talk) 14:18, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Consensus before deletion[edit]

Hi There are many reasons I agree with your deletion of the notable delicatessen sections, however, without you’re exactly stating your reason(s) for doing so, and as no discussion has been had regarding this issue, let alone a consensus being reached, I’ve reverted it for now. Thanks. Picomtn (talk) 11:26, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

Sorry I did not seek consensus - was just being WP:Bold and tried to give a clear reason in the edit summary. Having a list of "notable" delicatessens will overwhelm this article both in terms of quantity and quality. it would be hard to know what makes them notable and there would be a temptation to add any shop that had bothered to make an article about itself, thereby becoming as I suggested, merely a list of commercial premises. I think it would be better to try to get a comprehensive, clear, informative article about the idea, origins, spread, variety and appeal of delicatessens, rather than drowning that content in a fairly random list of shops. (talk) 14:25, 18 April 2016 (UTC)

I have created List of delicatessens, which incorporates some content from this article. If nobody objects, the content can be removed and a section could be added in its place as follows. North America1000 15:53, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
==List of delicatessens==
{{main|List of delicatessens}}

I went ahead and performed this. If anyone objects, they can discuss here. The list article was also expanded to include additional content that was not in this article. North America1000 23:09, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
Good move! That will help this article to stay focussed. It might help to put this new list article into a table form before it too gets completely out of hand. A model might be something like other list tables or this List of classical music competitions which I have tried to neaten up because people kept adding repeat unreferenced entries, apparently for the purpose of advertising. A list of delicatessens might soon start to look like a kind of commercial directory. There are also relevant categories such as "Category:Jewish Delicatessens" that can be added to the List article. (talk) 23:36, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
No objections at all and I agree with the assessments of both Northamerica1000 and in making this substantive change. Thanks. Picomtn (talk) 12:40, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Delicatessen/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Decent start to the article, needs more work in terms of pic and refs -- Warfreak 00:41, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

Last edited at 00:41, 16 June 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 13:09, 29 April 2016 (UTC)