Great news! Wendi Rosenstein,
Morrie Berenberg's eldest grandchild, is
working on a Lincoln Del Cookbook! When it's ready
we'll let you know how to get one. To request recipes
to be included or provide Wendi with other items, you can
contact her at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-868-6882.
It all started with Frank Berenberg,
who came to America from Romania in 1900. The story goes
that he was so enamored of the freedom of America, and of
Abraham Lincoln in particular, that he named his first son
Abraham and his business Lincoln.
Frank opened a bakery on Lyndale Ave. in Minneapolis in
1933, and brought sons Irving, Abraham, and Morris into the
business in about 1935. As of 1951, there were two locations
and goods were also available at Snyder Drug Stores.
Below left is an ad from the Minneapolis Spokesman, the city's
black newspaper, from June 8, 1951:
The store on Olson Memorial Highway (Highway 55) was a “cold shop” where
baked goods were sold but not made. That location was
displaced in 1957 with the improvement of Highway 55, and
the operation was moved to St. Louis Park.
There were at various times three Lincoln Del locations:
- Lincoln Del East, 4100 W. Lake Street
(Minnetonka Blvd.). Opened 1957, closed in 2000.
- The Lincoln Del West at Highways 100 and 12 (5201
Wayzata Blvd.). Opened
in September 1965, closed in 1994. This location
had a liquor license.
- The Lincoln Del South on 494. Opened in 1975, closed
This photo of Morris Berenberg was published in the
Minneapolis Star in September 1965 on the occasion of
the opening of the Lincoln Del West on Wayzata Blvd.
(courtesy Minnesota Historical Society) Berenberg
called himself a "foodaholic," and the article said "It was
nothing for him to polish off an entire cake and two quarts
of ice cream, one package each of marshmallow and chocolate
cookies, plus two pounds of crackers smeared with peanut
butter." At one sitting?
The Wayzata Blvd. store apparently got its liquor license
in July 1967; the ad below appeared in the Minneapolis
Tribune. The menu below right is from Wendi's
In October 1970, workers picketed the Wayzata Blvd. store
protesting the firing of two cooks who reportedly were fired
because of union activities. Owner Morris Berenberg
denied the accusation, even though the two had recently
joined the otherwise non-union shop. At the same time,
the Lincoln Del was slapped with a sex-discrimination
complaint brought by the State Human Rights Commission on
behalf of Mrs. Nancy Juhl. Mrs. Juhl claimed she was
being paid less than men in the same job, and that she was
fired in retaliation when she filed her claim.
But what people remember the most was the food - perfect for
the Jewish community that had settled into St. Louis Park,
but enjoyed by just about everyone for miles around.
In a city where there were several delis to choose from, the
Lincoln Del was at the top.
A couple of vintage menus reveal some interesting items -
and a sense of humor. Items include:
- Jewish Hogie (For Fressers Only)
- Minnesota Twins - Two char-broiled miniature
hamburgers (early sliders)
- Triple Tootsie - Three separate tasty sandwiches on
delicious French rolls, chopped liver, corned beef and
pastrami, French fries
- Scandinavian Treat Platter - freshly opened tin of
finest oil-packed King Oscar sardines, potato salad,
- Peanut butter and bacon sandwich (.80)
- Chocolate phosphate made with fresh cream
- Lincoln (shrimp) and Washington (chicken salad)
- Pump Twins - Two Over-stuffed corned beef on two
- Fried corned beef hash
- Diet Suggestion: two large hamburger patties,
Melba toast, cottage cheese or jello
- Country Club Sandwiches:
Club House (turkey)
Meadowbrook (chicken salad)
Lincoln (corned beef and chopped chicken liver)
Rolling Green (grilled albacore tuna)
Oak Ridge (chopped chicken liver)
Golden Valley (roast beef)
Brookview (corned beef)
Interesting note at the top of the menu: "At the
price we have to charge to serve LOX, we suggest you make a
different choice from our menu."
One particular goody people may remember was the The C.
Everett Koop cake. A blogger describes it: "[The
cake] was a towering monstrosity of chocolate layer cake and
whipped cream and cherries and chocolate shavings. It was
displayed, tantalizingly, right alongside the roped-off line
to get to the hostess's station, bedecked with a faux
"Surgeon General's Warning" as to its bad health effects.
Those were the days when Koop was everywhere letting
everyone in on the secret evils of smoking, and it made the
cake seem even more decadent and forbidden and hilarious."
We can't seem to find a photo of the Highway 12 building,
but here is the sign.
The Lincoln Del story ends when grandson Danny Berenberg decided to
sell his 6.8 acre tract on the Bloomington strip to Walser
Automotive for $6.4 million. Since the Bloomington store was
also supporting the Park store and the Park location was too
antiquated to run by itself, both had to go. The St. Louis
Park store was closed in June 2000 and a liquidation sale
started on July 17. Berenberg retained the
rights to the name and all the recipes. Many of the recipes came with family members
who immigrated from Russia and Romania, Berenberg said in a
Dispatch article. At the time of closing, the borscht
chefs moved to Zaroff's Deli in Minnetonka, which has now