Jewish Deli Decorative in the Mission District (San Francisco)


For aficionados of Jewish deli and American Jewish decorative style, Wise Sons deli is the new joint in the heart of the Mission District, on 24th Street, a main commercial hub. Dedicated to building community in the golus of San Francisco, there’s more to read about the Deli here. Combining Jewish deli with California cuisine, the food is not quite there, but definitely on the way up. I had the trout salad, which was excellent, the matzo ball still only so-so. What calls attention to itself are the combinations of food traditions, but even more so is the overly decorated style. Wall to wall full of American Jewish folk Americana, there’s not a blank space in the place. Some will like it and others won’t. New Yorkers can scoff, only to miss a point. A couple weeks after my visit, I’m understanding the place much  better. Putting together this post, I decided to include digital photos from other establishments up and down 24th street, including Luz de Luna. This combination allows one to see that there is more at work than just an arch celebration of American Jewish iconography to be seen as such, on its own and in isolation. Rather, the intensively decorative style is as if intended to integrate the Jewish deli into the Mexican neighborhood with its own unique folk art decorative style.

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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