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'I begged them to please stay:' Downtown deli restaurant to close after over 30 years of business

Posted at 6:01 PM, Feb 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-07 08:46:26-05

UPDATE: Some viewers are confusing the two restaurants in Cleveland that have Barrister in their name. "Barrister's Deli" on East 13th and Hamilton has no plans to close. "Barrister's Deli" is OPEN for customers and catering.

RELATED: Cleveland deli in business for nearly 60 years fears closure after customers' confusion heightens


An adored downtown Cleveland restaurant, Karl’s Inn of the Barristers, will be closing its doors after over 30 years of business. The owner, Karl Abounader, said he’s lived the American dream, but his businesses is closing sooner than expected.

Since 1991, Abounader has had his hands full of deli sandwiches and drinks for a plethora of customers. Karl’s Inn of the Barristers offers a sense of warmth on W. 3rd St, right across from the Justice Center.

“Everyone from all walks of life come here to eat,” said customer Joe Felice.

However, Abounader's run is over. He said his month-to-month lease is ending, and his landlord is kicking him out to sell the building.

“I begged them to please stay another season for the browns, not happening,” he said.

Abounader is known for having a packed house on Browns Sundays and welcoming superstars.

“Derek Jeter, Sarah Palin, Jerry Springer was here, Lebron,” Abounader said.

It’s not just the welcoming, unassuming atmosphere that’s kept customers coming back for decades, it’s the corned beef sandwich, Abounader’s signature dish.

“Decent size, decent price and it’s juicy,” said Celestine Burks, a customer.

Another customer, James Leasock, said, “Probably the best corned beef in Cleveland.”

He said since coming to America in 1969 with nothing but a dream, he’s been blessed.

“We didn’t speak a word of English and had nothing but our ticket,” Abounader said.

He thanks his customers for the restaurant’s success, but doesn't have plans to reopen anytime soon.

“Right now, I am going to take a little breather and see what happens,” said Abounader. “Everyone's bummed, but all good things must come to an end.”

The restaurant’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, March 18, will be the restaurant’s last hurrah before closing for good.

News 5 reached out to the ownership of the building for a comment and is waiting to hear back.

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