In 45 years, three generations of the Gurewitz family have operated their small Jewish deli, which is off the beaten path. Despite the location and regardless of the windowless dining room, folks line up on weekends for the generous breakfast specials, the king-size sandwiches and the friendly atmosphere.
"We're a big part of a lot of people's lives, a little neighborhood place you can zip into," says manager Danny Gurewitz, 36, whose grandfather opened Parkway in 1963. "Regulars come in two, three times a day."
We'll be back for the fully loaded Reuben Grill sandwich ($7.99), a whopping classic with a half-pound of lean, house-made corned beef, melted Swiss cheese and a mellow Russian dressing on rye bread. Another hefty handful is the Delight ($7.99), a half-pound of delicious pastrami (also house-made), melted Muenster, coleslaw and Russian dressing, grilled on pumpernickel.
Two vegetable side dishes are standouts. Sweet potato puree (eight ounces, $2.45) is a treat: not excessively sugary and with a distinctive vanilla note. Chopped spinach (eight ounces, $2.55) is straightforward in a good way, with a hint of onion.
In recent years, Gurewitz, who is a vegetarian, has "gotten rid of some of the old Jewish stuff," such as smoked trout, which he says few customers ordered. He has added a falafel platter ($6.55, with french fries) and a veggie wrap ($6.55, with chips and salsa) to appeal to Parkway's increasingly diverse clientele.
Still, year after year, matzo ball soup ($5.55 per quart) continues to be the most popular item on the menu, thanks, no doubt, to a pleasantly mild broth and generous quantities of tender chicken and vegetables. (The matzo balls weren't the best we've ever had, with one taster comparing them to sawdust.)
Jewish delis rise and fall on the integrity of their chopped liver, though, and because the one here ($6.99 per pound) is not overly processed, with a comforting sweetness, Parkway surely will live on.
-- Walter Nicholls (Feb. 13, 2008)