Longtime Newark deli remains unchanged for filming of ‘Sopranos’ prequel

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Filming is underway for “The Many Saints of Newark,” a feature film that serves as a prequel to HBO’s hit series, “The Sopranos.”

The movie will be set during the Newark riots of 1967 and filmmakers have painstakingly transformed an area around Halsey Street and Branford Place in Newark to resemble how it once looked over 50 years ago. But there is one location in the area that did not have to get changed at all – Hobby’s Deli.

As Hobby’s Deli owner Marc Brummer watches filmmakers shoot a scene, he says that he can't help but think of his father, Sam Brummer. He opened the deli in 1962, a few years before the riots in Newark.

“Our father did have to close his shop for two days. The National Guard wouldn't let him in. He wasn't supposed to work the third day, but my father being my father said ‘No one's telling me not to open.’ He went around, he picked up his staff and he came in and opened the restaurant,” Brummer says.

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Brummer says that in the years that followed, his father watched as many businesses and just about every other deli left Newark. But Hobby’s stayed open through it all.

“The thought never crossed his mind to close the business down. In fact, when the other delicatessens would close the business down in Newark, the owners would come to work for my father,” he says.

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Hobby’s Deli has stayed consistent throughout the years. The only change the filmmakers had to make to the set design is the prices in Hobby’s windows.

Brummer says that the deli will live on with him and his brother Michael leading the charge. He says that it’s an easy decision now that the area around the deli is booming with redevelopment once again.

“[My father] here in Newark's heyday. He watched the decline, he made it through 1967 and the aftermath and to see Newark rising up again really heartened him in his last days,” Brummer says.

But Brummer and his brother joke that their father would think that all of this “Hollywood stuff” was just a waste of money.

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