no deli for west u

Houston's favorite delicatessen permanently shutters West U location

Houston's favorite delicatessen permanently shutters West U location

Kenny & Ziggy's triple decker pastrami sandwich
Kenny & Ziggy's original location remains open. Courtesy of Kenny & Ziggy's

The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic have prompted another local restaurant to close a once successful location. Kenny & Ziggy's New York Delicatessen Restaurant has permanently closed its store near West University Place, chef-owner Ziggy Gruber tells CultureMap.

The second location of the popular establishment opened in 2016. Its original location on Post Oak Boulevard remains open.

“Before COVID, the store was doing well,” Gruber says. “With COVID, we couldn’t do it. It was a business decision.”

As Gruber explains, the problem is that the restaurant was simply too narrow to operate profitably while adhering to requirements to maintain 6-feet of separation between tables. The chef says he consulted with experts who told him that he could only fit six or seven tables in the space.

“I can’t run that store with six tables,” Gruber says. “The reality is there was just no way we could do it.”

All of the equipment and furniture from the West U location has been placed into storage. Gruber acknowledges he might reopen in the area after the pandemic if he can find a suitable location.

On a more positive note, Kenny & Ziggy’s original location on Post Oak is doing well thanks to its combination of curbside to-go, dine-in, and shipping via the Goldbelly platform. Gruber says that he’s seen as many as 200 orders per day via the website, which helped sustain the business through Jewish holidays such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur.

“It’s amazing how the shipping has helped us from the beginning,” Gruber says. “It saved our tucchus, basically.”

Meanwhile, Gruber is moving forward with plans to relocate his restaurant from its current home at 2327 Post Oak Blvd. to the space currently occupied by Luby's at 1743 Post Oak Blvd. Previously described as “Kenny & Ziggy’s on steroids,” the new location will feature approximately double the seating capacity along with a dedicated bar area and a full bakery.