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Boar stiff! F. Martinella Deli closes on Court Street

The much-hyped F. Martinella Deli on Court Street has closed after a very short run.
The Brooklyn Paper / Tom Callan

The pastrami experiment has failed.

F. Martinella, the “old-time” deli created by Boar’s Head nine months ago as a test of customer eating habits, closed earlier this month, the victim of high rents, an economic downturn and the fact that customers can buy Boar’s Head products at pretty much every other deli in Brooklyn.

Also, the rent for the Court Street location was “at a nosebleed level,” a local real-estate broker once told The Brooklyn Paper.

The novelty was not the meat — indeed, where can’t you get a Boar’s Head sandwich in Downtown? — but the throwback atmosphere, which featured lots of counter space, picture windows and tile on the floor, just like the delis of yesteryear.

But that old-time, “Johnny Rockets” feel was a mirage. The “Since 1949” sign on the front door was a lie; the name F. Martinella a hybrid formed from the names of two of Boar’s Head’s corporate officers.

With 2,100 employees and more than $800 million in sales last year, Boar’s Head is not about to perish without its Court Street sandwich experiment, a point that was not missed by posters on the Brooklyn Heights Blog, which has documented the store’s rise and fall.

“From its invented vintage to its tiled floors to its fake name fronting for a giant meat company, [F. Martinella] was designed to fool the neighborhood that this was a good, old-time shoppe” posted B’rer Bear on the Brooklyn Heights Blog.

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