Ben’s In the News
Sometimes you get a hankering for some deli meats. I don't mean turkey, ham, and tuna salad – I mean some authentic "New Yawk" (since that is the right way to pronounce it) Kosher deli. That craving came to me, and I had the need – the need to nosh!
"Ben's Kosher Delicatessen" has had a location in Queens that I remember being there back when I was a wee youngling, still suckling on pizza bagels and "Cheerio's". Much has changed since those days, for example, I now only eat the more sophisticated "Honey Nut Cheerio's". I had never ventured to "Ben's" before, but thanks to the subconscious succubus that is TV, I had been seeing plenty of commercials for them and it would appear their hypnotic tactics finally worked. So I grabbed my gentile friend who had never had truly had the Kosher deli experience before and trekked out to "Ben's".
Ronnie Dragoon, 63, chief executive of Ben's Restaurant Group Inc., began as a political science major and community organizer through Volunteers in Service to America, finding winter coats and food subsidies for needy kids.
Now he's the visionary who launched one kosher deli on Long Island 40 years ago and grew it to six Ben's locations with a workforce of more than 300, takeout counters, dining rooms and an off-premise catering division that recently hosted an event in Washington, D.C.
General Manager, Michael Ross, of Ben's Boca Raton, Florida with Ted Deutch, the U.S. Representative for Florida's 19th Congressional District and home to Ben's Boca Raton location.
Nancy Pelosi enjoying some Ben's corned beef at the Pastrami Showdown event.
Congressman Steve Israel, co-sponsor of the Pastrami Showdown event, which Ben's won handily with the help of Todd Silverstein, Ben's Catering Director, Luis Flores, Hal Simon and Kayla Silverstein, all long time members of the Ben's Management Team.
Ronnie Dragoon, Owner/Founder, feeding the next generation of satisfied Ben's patrons at the Democratic National Committee Fundraising Event on Thursday evening, August 2, 2012 at the DNC headquarters.
Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman may be retiring, but his legendary New York deli fundraiser lives on. This evening, New York Democrats Steve Israel and Jerry Nadler will engage in a contest of meats, vying to bring the most authentic New York deli experience to Washington.
Both men have invited their favorite hometown deli to town to prepare a proper spread complete with pastrami, corned beef, knishes and all that is good and delicious about New York style deli -- and Ackerman will judge what man brings the superior nosh.
The smack talking has already begun.
"I'm going to crush Jerry Nadler in an onslaught of mean and lean Ben's Kosher (Deli) pastrami. I actually feel sorry for Jerry, he is out of his league," Israel told the Alley. "He's invited some second rate, some deli that I don't even know."
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In 1972, Ronnie Dragoon returned to his native Long Island after serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Indiana. He opened up Ben's Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers in Baldwin Harbor, naming the place after his father. Now 40 years later, the business has expanded to six locations in Nassau County, Queens, Manhattan and Boca Raton, Fla.... Click this link to read a PDF of the Q&A with Ronnie