Stanley J's New York Style Deli, a fixture in South Lexington since 1989 and famous in the area for its towering sandwiches and homemade salads, will close Sept. 9.
Josh Tarnofsky, who co-owns the Clays Mill Road restaurant with his brother and sister, has operated the restaurant for the past eight years. His father, Stanley Joseph Tarnofsky, who started the business with the children's mother, Carol Codell, died in 2005.
Josh Tarnofsky said he wants to return to college to study kinesiology and business, and his brother Michael wants to go into sports administration, in which he recently earned a master's degree from the University of Louisville. Younger sister Caroline is in school.
"The biggest thing we're trying to do is move on with our lives, but also preserve his legacy," Josh Tarnofsky said.
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Tarnofsky said the restaurant was "at peak performance" and doing well, but that he did not want to sell it to someone else who might have a different vision of the deli's attention to detail.
He wrote in a statement for Stanley J's customers that carrying on that legacy "has been the most beautiful and rewarding experience I could have asked for in this lifetime."
He recalled growing up with his brother as his parents experimented with recipes and grew their business. He said he could remember a time as a child when he could walk beneath the counters at Stanley J's as they were being built.
He said the Stanley J's Facebook page would remain online so customers can keep in touch with the Tarnofsky family.
The restaurant was known for its redskin potato salad, chicken and such favorites as the "Rachel" sandwich — a Reuben with coleslaw instead of sauerkraut — and cream cheese brownies and carrot cake.
Its slogan is "New York Flavor with Southern Hospitality."
"It's a community-type environment. We want everybody to leave on that note," Josh Tarnofsky said.