Corky & Lenny’s Restaurant & Deli closes after 67 years

Article By : LYDIA KACALA | lkacala@cjn.org

Amanda and Kenny Kurland, co-owners of Corky & Lenny’s Restaurant & Deli at 27091 Chagrin Blvd., made the tough decision Dec. 12 to close their iconic restaurant after 67 years.

“It’s not a lack of customers closing us,” Amanda Kurland told the Cleveland Jewish New on Dec. 12. “We have been searching for quite a while to find the right partner and to find more skilled labor.”

At the time of its closure, Corky & Lenny’s in Woodmere had 35 employees, both part time and full time, she said. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the restaurant employed 80 people, Kurland said.The restaurant began losing employees shortly before the pandemic began, following a “cultural shift” away from working in the service industry, but it became “severely understaffed” during and after the pandemic, Kurland said.

She said they will continue to pay their employee’s salaries for the coming weeks. Some employees were still working this week to help the restaurant close, but it’s not a requirement, Kurland said. The Kurlands are helping their employees find other jobs, she added.While there is no plan to reopen the restaurant at this time, it is possible a smaller, more manageable Corky & Lenny’s may open in the future, Kurland said.The decision to close has been months in the making because the physical labor became too difficult for Kenny Kurland to do by himself, she said.

Kenny Kurland, who will turn 60 years old on Dec. 17, had help, but the restaurant was “very short staffed,” and there was a lot of “juggling nonstop,” Amanda Kurland said.“Physically, mentally, emotionally, (he) just couldn’t do it anymore,” she said. “And as his wife, I want to keep my husband alive. I want to keep him healthy as possible, so I have to support his decision, even though it’s a painful one.”The Kurlands are thankful for their customers and staff that have been a part of Corky & Lenny’s 67-year history, including 50 years in Woodmere, she said.

Corky & Lenny’s first opened in 1956 at the Cedar Center shopping plaza in South Euclid and closed in 1994. The restaurant was opened by Sanford “Corky” Kurland, Kenny Kurland’s father, and Leonard “Lenny” Kaden. The Woodmere location – its second – opened in 1973 at the Village Square shopping center.A third location opened in the food court of the then-Horseshoe Cleveland casino in 2012, and closed in January 2021. An express location was opened at Thistledown Racino in 2014 and closed in 2017. Corky & Lenny’s also had a short-lived location in Parma.“We are so thankful for our staff, many of whom have been with us their entire careers, and we’re extremely thankful for our loyal customers,” Amanda Kurland said.Corky & Lenny’s was the longest continuously run business in Woodmere, according to previous CJN reporting.

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