Recalling Reubens (As In The Sandwich)


“The Gentrification of the Gefilte” (April 20) makes a passing reference to a Reuben sandwich. I am related to the late Arnold Reuben (grand-uncle and my mom’s uncle), whose fabulous restaurant Reuben’s on East 58th Street off Fifth Avenue catered to the rich and famous.

One went to Reuben’s for after-theater treats like their famous apple pancake or cheesecake, as well as sandwiches named after film and theater stars of the day. I never actually saw a Reuben sandwich there, but I am sure it was on the menu somewhere. Although the family was Jewish they were highly secular, so this was not a kosher restaurant.

The family emigrated at the turn of the 20th century from Germany and they ran restaurants first in Philadelphia, then in New York. My grandparents had a separate restaurant in the Bronx called Rosenhain’s, located on the corner where the old Alexander’s department store used to stand.

It is sad that all that remains of these fabulous places is the Reuben sandwich. As a child I was taken there often after theater; it was a magical place.