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December 24, 2023

Iconic lunch spot Koch's Deli to relocate to 6th and Market after 57 years in West Philly

Known for its sandwiches stacked generously with cold cuts, the lunchtime institution was recently shut down by the Health Dept. for code violations

Food & Drink Delis
12242023-kochs-deli-west-philadelphia.jpg STREET VIEW/GOOGLE MAPS

Koch's Deli on the 4300 block of Spruce Street in University City will re-open in a new storefront at 6th and Market streets after 57 years in its original location.

A staple of the University City lunch rush is about to undergo a change of scenery. Koch’s Deli, an old school Jewish delicatessen that has been operating at 43rd and Spruce streets since 1966, is planning to relocate to Old City.

The new Koch’s Deli will open its doors at Sixth and Market streets on an as-yet-unannounced date after a nearly six-decade stint serving up sandwiches and cold cuts in West Philadelphia. The move, which was noted by users on Reddit over the weekend, is seemingly confirmed by a change in the establishment’s permanent address on Google Maps.

Over the years, Koch’s Deli has become known for its cold cuts and generously-stacked sandwiches like the corned beef special, double decker turkey club or the Lou Koch double decker – a sandwich loaded with turkey, roast beef and chopped liver and named for one of the brothers who ran the old school delicatessen for decades. 

Lou and Bob Koch ran their family’s namesake deli after taking it over from their parents Sid and Fran – who are also memorialized with their own sandwich on the menu – in 1967.

Despite changing ownership after the death of Bob Koch in 2005, Koch’s Deli has remained an iconic and relatively unchanged lunchtime institution. But where some see a timeless classic, others see rodent feces and other health code violations.

In November, Koch’s Deli was ordered to close by the Philadelphia Dept. of Health due to a number of health code violations uncovered during a routine inspection by city officials. In an inspection report dated Nov. 10, Health Dept. personnel noted the restaurant’s inadequate refrigeration of food items, various unclean surfaces, issues with the equipment used to cook meat and “visible physical evidence of rodent activity” in several different areas, including the presence of mouse droppings.

The inspection report outlined a total of six serious violations and ordered Koch’s to cease operations until it paid a fine and was reapproved by the Heath Dept. via a follow-up inspection.

Presumably, the issues cited by city officials will be rectified as part of Koch’s imminent relocation to 622 Market Street. The new deli will open up along the strip of commercial spaces across the street from a federal courthouse and about a block from Independence Mall. 

The intersection most recently made headlines as the controversial temporary stop for intercity bus carriers like Greyhound, Peter Pan and Megabus. That bus stop, which was widely criticized for causing congestion and offering insufficient shelter for travelers, has since been relocated to Spring Garden Street near Delaware Avenue.