Born in Manhattan into a dynasty of corned beef and coleslaw, Marian Levine was raised among the pickles and latkes of the Carnegie Deli, on the corner of 55th and 7th in midtown Manhattan, one of the most famous restaurants in the world. Her father, Milton Parker, the Patriarch of Pastrami, took the helm of the restaurant in 1976 from the original owners who opened the deli in 1937. Marian and her husband Sandy took over running the business in 2002 and, as the president of the Carnegie Deli, Marian oversees the menu and is in charge of customer relations, merchandising, public communications and the significant online business. In 2012, Carnegie Deli will turn 75 – Zagat has listed this as a significant milestone in its latest edition.
Marian married Sandy in 1991, and they’re a perfect match: equal in drive, bluster, and passion. Though their head-to-head battles are a matter of daily routine, their bond is like nuclear fusion: as unbreakable as it is fiery hot.
Marian prides herself in not being a kvetch: she thrives on the hectic pace and maintains her positive, outgoing outlook in the face of the pressures of running a business that caters to devoted fans, tourists as well as celebrities, and athletes and politicians from all over the world. Her enthusiasm has never flagged, and she is still thrilled by the countless celebrities who drop in for their signature sandwiches. One of her fondest memories is when Barry Manilow visited in 1978.
She loves the city, especially the theatre, movie premieres, music, Pilates, museums, and working with her family (which, along with her husband, includes her daughter, Sarri; her goddaughter, Jen; and Chuck, her son-in-law through Sandy). She is proud of being part of a New York tradition and heading a flourishing empire, as turbulent as it may be, with all its tantrums, laughter, and overstuffed sandwiches so big, they could derail a train.