Katz's to officially close in January



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Posted on December 20, 2010 at 9:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 21 at 10:37 AM

Nearly six months after filing for bankruptcy, a downtown Austin icon is about to close its doors. The owner of Katz's Deli has decided to leave the business behind, at least for now.

Haley Prevost and Kamal Shalorus have been coming to Katz's Deli for years.

"I don't think there's is anywhere else you can get a Reuben like this in Austin," said Prevost.

But during their meal, the owner of Katz's Deli, Marc Katz, served up a side dish of disappointment by telling them Katz's will no longer be open after Jan. 2. 

"(It was a) difficult decision, but once I made it, it was a happy day," he said.

Katz says initially landlord issues and a lack of parking were factors.  Katz says parking has become a problem at the current location.  He used to own a couple of buildings right next door and that parking was used for his restaurant customers, but that's no longer the case.

He filed for bankruptcy back in July. At the time, court records showed the business owned more than $121,000 in taxes, and $56,000 to vendors and employees.  However, Katz says the main reason he's closing his deli is, at his age, it is simply it's time to call it quits.

"I feel like rather than being like Brett Favre and waiting to leave until it's too late," he said.

For members of his staff, like Seth Peacock, the nostalgia has already started to build.

"I actually closed down with Bennigan's when the corporation went bankrupt back in '08," said Peacock.  "It was a completely different vibe, a completely different it was just gone like that, everyone went and did their own thing, but this is a lot more personal," he said.

Even those at nearby restaurants, like Wahoo's Fish Taco's, realize the impact of losing an iconic business like Katz's.

"Everybody on this side of town, everybody kind of knows each other and it's kind of sad to see him go," said Gary Dellacroce, the owner of Wahoo's Fish Taco

For Marc Katz, known in Austin for the last three decades as the "Pastrami King," it's now the unknown which has him most excited.

"Let's see what happens," said Katz.

When asked about rumors that he was opening up another deli just a couple of blocks up the street, Mark Katz says while that was a consideration a few weeks ago, it is no longer something he is interested in.