For almost 40 years, Starlight Deli, a Korean-owned sandwich shop on Broadway’s West 44th Street, has been a beloved fixture for theater insiders and stars alike. But on April 28th, owner Kim Min closed the doors of his shop for the final time, and a send-off was held to honor the legendary businessman.
Kim Min had run the shop since arriving in New York in 1981, but cited high rent and his age as reasons for the closure. The send-off was attended by longtime customers and friends, including numerous Broadway actors, who presented Kim with a collection of heartfelt letters and $17,839 in donations to help him in retirement.
Many in the theater community spoke out to pay their respects. Producer Brian Martin lamented, “We all came here during our downtime,” while theater manager Nick Forello added, “Mr. Min is a legend in this industry, and we will miss him dearly.”
The shop had become known for its soups and had grown to employ 14 staff members. However, like many other businesses, Starlight Deli was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Kim cited it as the most difficult period he had experienced.
Kim’s greatest concern now is for the future of his former employees. “Five of them have found new jobs,” he said. “I hope everyone else will be able to find something before the shop ends completely.”
Despite the sadness of the occasion, the send-off served as a reminder of the impact that Kim Min and his shop had on the Broadway community. As the curtains close on Starlight Deli, its legacy lives on in the memories of those who frequented it over the years.