A Kosher Classic

A master in the art of sandwich making since 1928, Fort Worth’s original kosher-style delicatessen, Carshon’s Deli, continues to serve classic, made-from-scratch cuisine under the stewardship of long-time owner, Mary Swift.

In addition to delicious sandwiches, Carshon's offers tasty soup options.
Reuben and Bagel Chips
Ruthie Sandwich
Chopped Liver Sandwich

| photography by Alex Lepe | Carshon's modest façade is easy to overlook, but that doesn’t appear to deter Southside diners. The parking lot is packed at noon on a Thursday, and patrons arriving late for lunch must park on neighboring side streets.

Inside, the din of mealtime conversation percolates from the dining room to the deli counter. A large board at the entrance lists meat options and salads available by the pound, and customers can also purchase matzo meal, borscht and other items in a small grocery area.

The dining room décor is no frills with green-checkered vinyl tablecloths and large white boards listing beer and wine selections, desserts and daily specials. Vintage pendant lights and B&W prints of historic Fort Worth evoke another time and place.

The wait staff is casually dressed in jeans and tennis shoes, but service is friendly and efficient. Marisela is quick to take our order and proudly informs us that everything on the menu is made in-house. Owner Mary Swift also makes the rounds, checking on customers and refilling drinks, all with her bright-eyed grandchild in tow.

Swift has run Fort Worth’s first (and only) kosher-style deli for more than three decades. Originally located downtown, the family-owned business was established by Jewish immigrant David Carshon in partnership with Chicotsky’s Meat Market. The deli eventually relocated to West Berry and then to its current home on Cleburne Road in the 1970s.

In nearly 90 years of operation, Carshon’s has developed a sizeable group of longtime patrons. Noontime diners are made up primarily of businessmen and retirees, but by 1 o’clock, families and students donning TCU purple trickle in. No table is empty for long.

Although not strictly kosher, the menu offers traditional deli fare, including fresh bagels, matzo ball soup, meat and fish plates, and a selection of sandwiches, from corned beef to chopped liver. Instead of ketchup, a jar of Gulden’s spicy brown mustard sits on each table.

The hearty bean and barley soup ($3.50) makes an excellent starter, although it did require a healthy shaking of salt. Texas-style homemade chili ($3.95) is earthy and delicious as well. Sides ($0.75-$3.25) are basic, such as coleslaw, sauerkraut and potato salad, but well made and generous in size.

Carshon’s sandwiches are expertly constructed, not too soggy or dry, and won’t fall apart in your hands. They’re balanced in flavor, not overly dressed, and every ingredient tastes fresh. The Reuben ($7.95), corned beef or pastrami with Swiss and kraut on rye bread, is a formidable sandwich worthy of sharing. The Rebecca ($7.95) is more manageable in size—stacks of pastrami and smoked turkey served on grilled egg bread layered with cream cheese and Russian dressing.

Although we had no room for dessert, Marisela talked us into a slice of warm coconut pie ($3.75), light as air, piled high with meringue and sprinkled with toasted coconut. Not a crumb survived. With comfort food this satisfying, Carshon’s will remain a Fort Worth staple for a long time.

Location: 3133 Cleburne Rd.
For Info Call: 817.923.1907
Price Range: $
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
What We Like: Reasonably priced and generous servings of traditional deli favorites that are made fresh in house.
What We Don’t: Credit cards aren’t accepted, so be prepared to pay in cash or by check.
Our Recommendation: Definitely try the specialty sandwiches, preferably one that includes pastrami or corned beef. And leave room for dessert.