New York has Katz’s. L.A. has Langer’s. The Bay Area, on the other hand, has never really had a true destination pastrami spot — at least not until Delirama opened its cheery Solano Avenue storefront in Berkeley two summers ago. Biting into the restaurant’s “OG” sandwich for the first time, I could imagine a future, 10 or 20 years from now, when Delirama would be exactly that: the kind of beloved neighborhood institution that out-of-towners would plan road trips around.
Now, that pastrami-scented fever dream has been put on hold, as the deli has closed, according to an announcement posted on Instagram today.
Delirama was a labor of love for Cash Caris and Anahita Cann, who started the pop-up Pyro’s Pastrami in 2020 as a vehicle for Caris’ lifelong love affair with the Jewish deli smoked meat staple. The couple opened their brick-and-mortar storefront in August of 2022, with an all-things-pastrami menu — pastrami pizza! pastrami tacos! pastrami-fat potato chips! — that drew lines around the block from day one.
This was a rare instance where reality lived up to hype. A pastrami sandwich at Delirama became my go-to leisurely “island day” lunch, for those rare occasions when, say, my family was out of town and I had no responsibilities to attend to. I’d snag a seat at the window and luxuriate over one of Caris’ two-handed sandwiches: thick slices of butter-griddled rye bread, a swipe of mustard and a big pile of lusciously fatty, crisp-edged pastrami.