Jerry’s Delays Its Reopening Again, Now It’s Summer By JACQUELINE FOX Staff Reporter Despite a series of delays, officials at Jerry’s Famous Deli Inc. insist there is no truth to rumors that squabbles with the contractor are threatening to scrap plans for reopening the flagship store in Studio City. “We are 100 percent reopening,” said Guy Starkman, Jerry’s president and director. The company operates six other Jerry’s restaurants in Southern California, as well as two restaurants in Miami. Company officials first announced that Jerry’s, shuttered since a fire broke out in the kitchen last May, would reopen in October of 2002, then delayed the date until January. January came and went, and nothing. According to Starkman the recent heavy rains forced the company to again delay reopening until April. Now he says it’s going to likely be sometime in July. But before the rains, many in the community were speculating whether the deli would ever reopen because of the previous delays and the fact that most restaurants typically don’t take nearly a year to rebuild. “I liked that place, and I don’t understand what’s taking so long either,” said Joe Goodman, president of the Studio City Chamber of Commerce. “It’s just a restaurant.” Starkman, who admitted that his office had “been receiving a lot of calls about the reopening,” said the fire did so much damage to the roof of the 7,500-square-foot building that, to simply make repairs would cost far more than gutting the restaurant and starting from scratch. When it finally does reopen, Jerry’s will still sport the popular red booths. However, it will be a modernized version of the original, with much of the wood walls, roofing and flooring replaced by concrete and marble, Starkman said. “It’s just a very, very old building,” said Starkman. “It’s been there for 57 years. We figured that sometimes, with re-building costs and everything else involved, that sometimes it’s cheaper to build all over again than to fix something.” Starkman said the final price tag would be around $375,000, or roughly $400 to $500 per square foot. Starkman also discounted rumors that the Sport’s Center Bowling alley next door, which has an inside link to Jerry’s, was being threatened with closure. Starkman said the company, which went from public to private in October of 2001 after a drop in sales, has suffered as a result of the closure. “We do about $75 to $80 million a year, so it’s not like we’re dependent on that one unit,” said Starkman.