Business partners Val Izrailov and Carey Gerchak

Business partners Val Izrailov and Carey Gerchak are opening Val’s Delicatessen, a “New York-style deli” at the end of October in West Bloomfield.

Featured photo by Esther Allweiss Ingber

Menu items drawn on a blackboard got me anticipating the new deli coming to West Bloomfield.

With Val’s Delicatessen, immigrant Val Izrailov is climbing the next rung of his American dream ladder. This time, he has a business partner in Carey Gerchak. Members of both families fill out the team that will operate what Carey called a “casual, New York-style deli.” The location is Crosswinds Mall, on Orchard Lake Road at Lone Pine.

Chef Val worked 25 years previously at Steve’s Deli in Bloomfield Township, becoming famous for his chicken soup. Brimming with noodles, white chicken and carrots, Chef Val’s soup has won nine trophies in the professional category of Congregation Shir Shalom’s annual Chicken Soup Cook-off in West Bloomfield. Born in Azerbaijan, in the former Soviet Union, Val continues a family tradition of chefs with their own restaurants.

At age 13, he began working in Uncle Lazar Izrailov’s “big restaurant in Russia.” After this uncle moved to West Bloomfield, he sponsored Val and family to join him in 1993.

“He came for a better life, bigger opportunities,” said Val’s daughter, Shifra Uzilov.

At first, Chef Val assisted his uncle at Orchard Family Restaurant, now Greek Islands Coney Restaurant, in West Bloomfield. Two more uncles, both local, have owned restaurants.

Val’s Delicatessen will have a scratch kitchen. Breakfast will be big with a separate menu and items throughout the day.

On weekends, “we’ll feature special things Val’s going to cook, so there’s always something different,” Carey said. The website and a chalkboard will list specials.

Hot and cold display cases will contain carryout entrees. Among the rotating choices will be more Chef Val specialties: stuffed cabbage, short ribs, lamb chops, chicken pot pie, gefilte fish, and chicken baked with cranberry, apricot or lemon.

Besides daily soups, regular choices will include beef barley, mushroom barley, chicken noodle, chicken rice, matzah ball and kreplach.

Dinners consist of entrée, soup or salad and two sides, such as vegetables, potatoes and rice. Prices should be affordable for middle-class diners.

Chef Val will cater Jewish and non-Jewish holidays and events.

“Customers with big carryout orders can pull up in front or around the back for easy access,” Carey said.

At the new deli, Toma Izrailov will again serve as her husband’s sous chef, son Erik will do back inventory, prep and cleanup, and Shifra will be a server and co-manager with pastry chef Alexis Gerchak. The crew delivering throughout Metro Detroit are Erik, Carey’s husband, Richard, and Alexis’ boyfriend, Alan, who is designing the website.

“We’ll all be doing a little bit of everything,” said Carey, who met Chef Val at Steve’s Deli. She will continue teaching at nearby Doherty Elementary, where Shifra’s two children attend.

The 3,000-square-foot space still being put together features an open kitchen and a grab-and-go case. Black and white were chosen for a simple, elegant look.

Val’s Deli opens in early November.

Val’s Delicatessen
4301 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield
(248) 973-8037

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