Legendary NY Jewish restaurant Sammy’s Roumanian closes but vows to reopen after the COVID era


(JTA) — Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse, the Lower East Side restaurant known for serving huge pieces of meat alongside jars of schmaltz and bowls of chopped liver, has closed — for now.

The eatery’s owner, David Zimmerman, confirmed the closure to Gothamist on Sunday but added that he hopes to revive the restaurant in a new location when things are “somewhat back to normal,” after the COVID crisis that has decimated the dining industry.

“Without question it has been the toughest year for all of us and everyone in our industry,” Zimmerman said. “We can’t wait and hope to see everyone enjoying latkes, vodka, chopped liver and steaks once again. We need this horrible time to pass and bring Sammy’s back so we can celebrate again.”

The restaurant, stationed in a dingy basement location on Chrystie Street for decades, was almost equally known for its Jewish wedding party-style atmosphere as for its “Jewish-style comfort foods.”

“Sammy’s Roumanian is more than just a restaurant. It’s a community. A celebration of tradition. An experience difficult to put into words,” the restaurant said in an Instagram post on Sunday. “It’s where families come to dine weekly, where partygoers begin their night (if they survive the frozen vodka), and where Simchas are celebrated. It‘s a place where you can be yourself, make friends, discover what a Shiksa is, and maybe even get called out as one too.

“So chins up fellow schmaltzers. All the years of devouring chopped liver with our special schmaltz, schmered on rye bread with a side of pickles and a shot (or glass) of frozen vodka to wash it down will be remembered fondly. We may be closed now, but when all this is over and we feel safe enough to hold hands during the hora, we will be back stronger, louder, and tastier than ever before. We are New York. We will survive this.”

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