Brooklyn transplant Jack Grodzinsky purchased Herman’s Corned Beef Junction at 16th Street and McDowell Road in 1949. One savvy name change and 67 years later, the Miracle Mile Deli remains in family hands, and still serves some of its seminal menu items.
Grodzinsky’s daughter, Jill, met her husband, George Garcia, when she worked as a cashier and he was a busboy at the deli. They began running the business shortly after their marriage in 1981. Now their son, Josh Garcia, oversees operations, but his parents remain heavily involved. Miracle Mile expanded over the years to include locations at Christown Spectrum Mall, Arrowhead Towne Center and Camelback Colonnade, but now a single location is all that remains. But what a shiny, brand-spanking-new spot it is.
Last June, the family built Miracle Mile’s current location at 16th Street and Campbell Avenue from the ground up, seeking to “redevelop and rebrand” the business outside the control of a landlord. “My dad… saw there was a potential for us to be on our own, and we are a destination place… we didn’t need to rely on a shopping center in order to succeed,” Garcia says.
“What separates us? It’s the quality product, the consistency,” Garcia continues. “I had a guy come in who hadn’t been here in 40 years… He came back and he says, ‘I had a straw sandwich, Josh… it tasted the exact same as it did 40 years ago.’” Garcia says the restaurant’s success lies in the “business-customer relationship” – some loyal customers have been coming for decades, and the employees know them (and often their children and grandchildren) by first name. “I think we’re fortunate enough to be able to call ourselves a Valley institution,” Garcia says. “We’re a landmark for a lot of people.”