Sanford ‘Corky’ Kurland, co-founder of popular Cleveland-area deli, dies at 81

Sanford “Corky” Kurland, a Cleveland-area legend for having run Corky and Lenny’s, a classic "Jewish" deli, for more than 50 years, died Oct. 22 at 81.

"We’ve been getting calls from all over the country,” said Kurland’s son, Kenny, a co-owner of the restaurant. “Everybody loved my father. He was so nice to everybody. He was the salt of the earth, just an honest, good guy.”

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Corky and Lenny’s was listed in a 2006 article in USA Today as one of “10 great places to nosh on authentic Jewish deli food,” in part for its “chocolate phosphate,” the drink better known as an egg cream. The restaurant’s homespun website offers this as its slogan: “Where people meet to eat.”

The Cleveland Jewish News reported that 600 attended his funeral, where Rabbi Stephen Weiss of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, who met Kurland on his first visit to the restaurant, said he "reached out to everyone and made them feel like they were important. Corky knew everyone who came in the door," Kurland graduated from a Cleveland-area high school, worked with his father on a food truck and helped in the family grocery store. He worked at a restaurant and was a chef in the U.S. Army. Kurland and his wife, Gloria, were married 57 years.

The Eulogizer highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Write to the Eulogizer at eulogizer@jta.org.

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