LIBERTY TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – On Tuesday, Youngstown restaurant historian Tom Welsh called Kravitz the last of the area’s classic Jewish delicatessens — a center of activities that celebrated the community’s diversity. This, after Jack Kravitz announced he had sold the business after 83 years in the Kravitz family.
“It’s really time. Everything just kind of lined up that it was time,” Jack said. “I’m out of people to pass it down to, and if they didn’t take it over, in a short time, it would have closed. This is really emotional. It’s a really emotional thing for me and my family.”
The business will continue to operate under the Kravitz name.
“Very overwhelmed but excited,” said Matthew Rydarowicz, Kravitz’s new owner.
Matthew has been involved in food service as maintenance at Dairy Farmers of America and has worked part-time at Kravitz and for many catering events. His mother, Patty, has run Inspired Catering for the last decade. She has also worked at Kravitz for 10 years, running its catering business and serving as COO.
“My mom asked me last year if I wanted to purchase Kravitz off of Jack and I said absolutely,” Matthew said.
Jack says the Rydarowiczs have a big family.
“These aren’t new people. It’s not a total change. It’s just the next step,” Jack said. “I have faith they’re going to do just fine. They’re really committed to keeping all the quality up.”
In 1939, Herb and Rose Kravitz opened their deli on Elm Street, on Youngstown’s North Side, before moving to its current location — a plaza on Belmont Avenue in Liberty — in 1970.
Rose worked until she was 95. Jack says there’s one “Rose-ism” she would pass on to the new owners.
“If you can’t make it work in 40 hours a week in this business, work 60,” Jack said.
Matthew is not going to change much. The classic Kravitz reuben will remain.
“We’re going to keep everything the same. The only thing we might add is french fries to the menu. It won’t be anytime soon,” Matthew said.
Jack’s official last day is on Wednesday. New ownership papers were signed last week.
There are two things Jack says he will miss, working with food and working with customers.
“You know, I’m not used to having to go to people for social. They all come to me,” Jack said.
Jack will still be consulting but won’t be at Kravitz every day. He’s going to focus on one of his first loves, which is teaching, and continue to have cooking classes. Jack has two children, both of whom have other careers.
“[Jack] has done a lot of good things for this area, and hopefully, I can do the same,” Matthew said.
Matthew has a young son. He hopes someday he can pass on the business.