Sarge’s Deli reopens after 2012 fire gutted beloved Murray Hill restaurant

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Andrew Wengrover, Sarge’s owner and general manager David DePrima hold their famous enormous pastrami sandwich, cured in-house. (PIX11 / Allison Yang)

NEW YORK (PIX11) — After 15 months recovering from fire damage, Sarge’s Deli of Murray Hill reopened Thursday welcoming both long-time locals and newcomers from all over the world.

“The fire took everything,” owner Andrew Wengrover said. “The only thing we could save was a couple of the pictures and the lamps.”

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Sarge’s wall of famous faces was one of the few things they could salvage from the devastating fire. (PIX11 / Allison Yang)

Wengrover is the great-grandson of the original “Sarge,” Abe Katz.  The business, established in 1964, has been in his family for 50 years.

Wengrover’s mother started working at Sarge’s when she was ten. Andrew spent a lot of time at Sarge’s as a child, and started working full-time in 2008.

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The original Sarge, Abe Katz. (PIX 11 / Allison Yang)

“The most memorable moment I’ve had at Sarge’s was the reopening yesterday,” Wengrover said.  “It was super exciting to see all the locals — everyone’s fired up.”

Despite cheerful appearances, the 15 months of recovery was extremely difficult for Wengrover and his team.

“It was really tough. There was a lot of red tape problems with the city, and of course, insurance.”

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Thankfully, the beautiful Tiffany-style lamps were salvaged in the fire. (PIX11 / Allison Yang)

“Everything needed to be replaced — but I wanted everything to stay the same,” Wengrover remembers.

“I want people to walk in, and know they’re still in Sarge’s.”

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After 15 months recovering from the fire, Sarge’s counters are now fully stocked with rows and rows of delicious cured meats, fish, salads, cakes, and pastries.

For anyone who still hasn’t had the chance to try Sarge’s, Wengrover’s advice is this:

“Definitely have our pastrami. We’re one of the last places in New York that cures in-house,” Wengrover said.

“I’d put it up against anybody’s, I mean that.”

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