A high school crowd gathers during lunch time at Lange’s.

Lange’s Deli, a downtown staple since 1972, will close at the end of May.

The eatery has been a go-to lunch spot for two generations of Scarsdale High School kids and some village residents and is known for its made-to-order sandwiches, chopped salads and side dishes such as potato salad and cole slaw.

Rumors of its closing started to circulate when the “Lange’s of Scarsdale” awning was removed earlier this month.

Even the landlord, Rush Wilson, got short notice.

“I found out they were leaving late last month,” Wilson said. “Tony had a good run there and he’s decided he’s going on to other things,” he said, referring to Lange’s owner Anthony Domini who told Wilson he thought it was his time to move on.

Domini was reportedly traveling and could not be reached for comment, but Lange’s manager Heri Mejia said Domini had tried to sell the business, but that didn’t pan out.  

For years the store was a favorite take out lunch spot with a deli counter and a few high tops. It was known for its catering — think wraps and salads —as well. About 10 years ago, the deli expanded into the storefront next door where Dunkin’ Donuts had been, hired the Dunkin’ manager and transformed the new space into a pizzeria with a large brick over and seating for 50. A total square footage of 3,000 square feet is divided into three areas — the deli, the pizzeria and a coffee station.

Two other Lange’s in Bronxville and Lange’s Little Store Chappaqua will remain open and are not related to the Scarsdale store, though Richard Lange started all three, Mejia said.

News of the closing traveled quickly, reaching Lange’s fans near and far.

David Stackhouse, a former Scarsdale resident now living in Massachusetts, said the closing is bittersweet.

“The thing about Lange’s is that it was the standard [by which] I judge delis to this day,” he said. “I moved away [from Scarsdale] back in the late ’80s, so I don’t know what became of the food. What it was in the mid ’80s was the best you can get in town and the best you can get anywhere. … Nothing comes close to Lange’s.”

Stackhouse said he and his two brothers worked at Lange’s as high school students in the mid-1980s — it was his first job and he used the money he earned there to buy his first car.

Being at Lange’s, he said, was “like a rite of passage.”

“A lot of my friends worked there and if they didn’t work there, they all went there. It was a fun place,” he said, recalling his three bosses, George, Jerry, Vince, and Richie Lange, the main boss who worked there at the time, was nicknamed David Fritz. “I wore every hat that there was. We all did. We cleaned the bathrooms, cleaning the dishes to serving, making sandwiches, cutting cold cuts and sometimes the lines would go out the door and around the corner. Celebrities occasionally came in … I was in the freezer case loading soda and John Lithgow came in.”

The deli counter and tables are still crowded at lunchtime with a new generation of SHS students who frequent Lange’s because it’s close enough to walk from the high school and it offers fresh healthy options.

“People love Lange’s because it has a lot of options and the workers are nice,” said Jake Abrahams, SHS class of ’15. “Everyone knew the servers by name …  and the mostly healthy options were a good draw, especially among the girls.”

These days, however, more eateries offering a variety of healthy options are operating in the village, making lunchtime competitive. And not everyone was a fan of Lange’s — especially because of its prices.

“I walked in for a turkey sandwich and they said $9 and I said ‘Enjoy closing the deli in a few months,’” said Christian Bishop, SHS class of ’16. “Sad that I was right; they should have fixed it,” he added, referring to the price point.

A positive about Lange’s is the central location with seasonal seating outdoors along the sidewalk and Chase Park right across the street.

Lange’s landlord Wilson said he has several potential tenants considering the space and he assumes another food/eatery will go in there because of the fully equipped kitchen.

“We’re in discussions with those interests at this time,” he said. “We haven’t made any determination as to what’s going in there, but definitely not fast food.”

Social media was full of fond farewells for the beloved eatery, and Scarsdale poet Deborah Skolnick penned a tribute, “Auld Lange’s Syne,” which praised the deli’s sandwiches, slices and its constant support for the PTA.

Current SHS senior Megumi O’Hara spoke for many when she emailed the Inquirer, “Lange’s meant a lot to us and was the place to go whenever we were bored. It’s one of the main things that defined living as high schoolers in Scarsdale, and will truly be an important piece of the community lost.”

— With reporting by Catherine Ferris, Ezra Levine and Madailein Hart

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