JT Exclusive: New Pikesville Deli to Open in Late October

Pikesville deli enthusiasts won’t have to wait much longer for Neil Parish to bring his offerings to town.

Despite taking months longer than expected, The Essen Room is confident it will open in its new Hooks Village facility in late October, Parish, the deli’s owner, told the JT on Thursday.

Parish originally hoped to be operating by late August out of the 3,000-square-foot space that housed the former Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. at 25 Hooks Lane.

“We were probably a little aggressive on our opening-day start, but we know people have been clamoring for us to open,” Parish said. “We’ve had to deal with some construction and get permits, just general things. But things are looking real good and moving in the right direction.”

Essen means “to eat” in Yiddish. Parish, 53, a Randallstown native, opened his first deli, The Kibitz Room, in Cherry Hill, N.J., 18 years ago and felt his hometown deserved a taste of what he has to offer.

So far, he said, the anticipation has been noticeable.

“My phone, my email and my landlord’s phone line, they don’t lie,” said Parish, who is Jewish. “The phone calls are nonstop all day and all night, and our voicemail box gets filled up twice a day.”

With its traditional deli-style food, The Essen Room’s staples will be its overstuffed sandwiches as well as other Jewish favorites such as knishes, kreplach, kugel, matzo ball soup and smoked fish. Breakfast will also be served and include popular selections such as babka, cheese blintzes, challah French toast and made-to-order omelets.

Parish understands the deli businesses has taken a hit in recent years. Steve’s Deli in Owings Mills ceased operations last December as did New York’s iconic Carnegie Deli after nearly eight decades in business. Lenny’s Delicatessen also closed its location on East Baltimore’s famed Corned Beef Row in April after 26 years.

But Parish is optimistic he can inject some new life into the local scene, in which he is no stranger. He got his start at Caplan’s Delicatessen and Lenny’s before venturing off on his own.

Parish said his hope is to establish a following at his Pikesville location that mirrors The Kibitz Room’s loyal customers in Cherry Hill.

“We’re really looking to build up our Pikesville location,” said Parish, who will split his time between his Cherry Hill residence and Pikesville. “We want to do a real good job giving the neighborhood what it is starving for, and believe me, they are starving for it.”

For more information, visit greatpastrami.com.


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