Monday, June 19, 2017

Goldie's Deli on Union Street

One of the places I will always remember going as a kid was Goldie's Deli at 906 Union Street. It was owned by Anthony and Joseph Briscoe who were friends of my dad. As far as I can tell the Briscoe Brothers purchased the deli from Samuel Goldstein or his heirs, hence the name Goldie's. Goldstein was a Wilmington businessman who also owned Goldstein's Liquor store on 8th and Monroe Streets and a taproom at 807 Shipley Street. 

Goldie's was located directly across the street from Huber's Bakery where a great uncle on my mom's side of the family worked. I think it was uncle Ed. When you walked into Goldie's the first thing you noticed with the amazing smell of the fresh deli meats. People like Wawa and Subway these days, but you haven't lived until you walked into an old-time city deli and smelled that amazing deli smell. Wawa might be the place where people go nowadays but they will never compare to a neighborhood deli like Goldie's. The counter was on the right and the wall on the left had various racks for items found in a neighborhood store such as loaves of bread, chips, pretzels, and the coveted Tastykakes. The next thing thing you really noticed were the trophy mounts of all of the game that the Briscoe Brothers hunted over the years. There were also mounted fish and plenty of photos of the brothers on various hunting trips. They went on trips to faraway places like Maine, Idaho, and Montana. I don't remember exactly but I remember looking at the photos and knowing that those places did not look like Delaware. I've always suffered from wanderlust and seeing these photos made me want to see these places. In the back there was a room with tables and a television where you could sit and eat.

My dad would take us there and we'd get hoagies and eat in the back. Dad would talk with the guys there for what seemed like forever. Sometimes the back room would get smokey and uncomfortable but that was part of life back then. I can't imagine being in a public place filled with smoke these days. There was always a TV going and we could watch wrestling with Captain Lou Albano, roller derby with Judy Arnold, or Howard Cosell commentating on ABC's Wide World of Sports. The adults would talk and talk and my brother Chris and I would hang out watching TV and every so often pester dad for some Tastykakes. My favorites were, and still are, the Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. In my opinion the flagship of the Tastykake product line, I know a lot of people might say otherwise. Pestering dad normally worked, it bought him more time to chat and got my brother and I our coveted Tastykakes.

Dad and his friends would be talking about hunting, fishing, or the latest things happening in Wilmington. Eventually we'd hit the road and if we were lucky dad would stop and get us Italian Water Ice. A hoagie from Goldie's, Tastykakes, and Italian Water Ice... the trifecta for a kid on a Saturday in Wilmington in the 1970s.

Today you can still get a good sandwich at 906 Union Street at the Kozy Korner Restaurant. It is a great place to get a little neighborhood flavor in Wilmington's Little Italy. The hunting photos and mounted deer trophies are long gone, the air is smoke-free, but you can still meet up with a friend and have a sandwich. 

The experience of the chewing the rag in the back room of a neighborhood deli is one that is fading. Devices and social media have taken the place of conversation while people use touch screens or smartphone apps to order hoagies and rush in and out without ever taking to anyone. Sometimes we think things improve but maybe they actually have not.

1 comment:

  1. There was a great little place on Union right across from where the old bakery was, they did cheesesteaks and the best water ice in the area, it was one of my favorite places!


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