A man walks past Russell Street Deli in Eastern Market on Monday, April 22, 2019. (photo: © Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press)

Russell Street Deli In Eastern Market Closing After 30 Years

April 23, 2019 - 10:18 am

DETROIT (WWJ) - After 30 years in business, a popular deli in Eastern Market is closing its doors. 

The Russell Street Deli announced this week that it will be closing this fall following a dispute with the building's new landlords, a group of investors led by Sanford Nelson.

Russell Street Deli chef and co-owner Ben Hall, photographed at the Eastern Market deli shortly after purchasing it in 2007. (photo:© Patricia Beck, Detroit Free Press)

Ben Hall, the deli's chef and co-owner, said the dispute started with a complaint over the nearly 130-year-old floor, which is weak and soft. When Hall brought the issue to Nelson, expecting the landlord to take care of the maintenance, he says he was told to fork over $50,000 for repairs to damage that the landlord claims was caused by the deli's dishwasher.

The real estate firm, which says it never wanted the deli to close down, told the Detroit Free Press the dispute involves safety issues that the owners have failed to correct over several years. The firm says under the current lease, which has been in place since 2007, the repairs are the deli's responsibility. 

Hall says Nelson offered two options: to roll the repair cost into his rent over a year, bringing his monthly payment to $6,000; or sign a new five-year lease that would raise his current $1,700 rent payment to $3,704 per month. Rather than taking either deal, Hall decided to close the deli's doors for good.

The last day for business is September 28.