Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, a pillar of New York City’s dining scene, appeared to be another restaurant casualty during the pandemic — or maybe not. That’s the question plaguing fans of the 91-year-old establishment this week, after the Court Street Grocers Instagram account posted a photograph of a bar stool that appears to be taken from inside the storied lunch counter. “We are really excited about this, but please don’t ask us any questions,” the caption reads.
Several commenters quickly identified the duct tape-patched bar stool as belonging to Eisenberg’s, the nearly century old lunch counter that closed its doors in March. Based on photographs taken of Eisenberg’s ahead of the closure, the countertop, stool, tiling, and foot bar pictured in the post all appear to be a match.
Users flooded the post with comments in the following hours and days, expressing their excitement and pleading with Court Street Grocers to bring back the lunch counter’s famous tuna melt. “Court Street Grocenbergs,” one user commented on the post. “You crazy bastards really did it,” another user wrote.
All signs seem to point toward an Eisenberg’s revival, but it’s not clear at this time if Court Street Grocers co-founders Eric Finkelstein and Matt Ross have signed a lease on the space, or whether the restaurant would reopen under the Eisenberg’s name. Finkelstein declined to comment when contacted by Eater on Tuesday afternoon.
Eisenberg’s reportedly closed in March after a “for lease” sign appeared in its front window. Former owner Warren Chiu, who took over the deli in 2018, had apparently stopped paying rent even before the pandemic, a source with knowledge of the situation told Grub Street at the time. Chiu did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Grub Street reported at the time that Chiu may not own the intellectual property rights to the Eisenberg’s brand or menu, meaning if the lunch counter does make a comeback, its tuna melt may be coming along for the ride.