For several decades, Worman’s Bakery and Deli was among the city’s favorite destinations for a variety of tasty goods including cakes, Jewish pastries, deli sandwiches, corned beef, and even dill pickles.
Though Worman’s technically opened in 1939, its founders – Samuel and Rosa Worman – had operated local bakeries such as their New York Star Bakery as early as the mid-‘20s. Located along Broad Street, near what is now the front lawn for the Duval County Courthouse, the eatery’s success branched out far beyond its modest downtown building. Its kosher treats were a huge success among Jewish patrons, both locally and beyond. Within just a few years of opening, Worman’s was routinely sending out its pastries and other kosher items to towns in Georgia. It also soon spawned a second location locally, in San Marco along San Marco Boulevard.
Worman’s served a menu of breakfast and lunch items, with a lengthy list of sandwich and platter options. It was a family business through and through; when Sam and Rosa retired, their children – Morris Worman and Pearl Worman Leibowitz-Sederbaum – took over its day-to-day operations. Morris’s own son later became involved in the business as well.
In the mid-‘90s, the San Marco Worman’s moved west to Lakewood Promenade. It didn’t last long in this spot, though; it closed around the turn of the century.
The downtown location, however, kept going strong until its surrounding land was chosen for the new county courthouse building in the early 2000s. The ensuing planning and construction, which brought about the closure of Broad Street, proved to be the death knell for Worman’s. The road remained closed off despite construction on the courthouse remaining dormant for years. Unable to stay afloat, Worman’s closed permanently in 2009 – the same year that construction on the courthouse finally began.
Three years later, the downtown Worman’s building was demolished; its former property remains vacant. Its old San Marco location is now home to European Street Café, while its Lakewood Promenade unit was taken over by Atlanta Bread Co., then later Cruisers Grill, and most recently, Pirate’s Cove Seafood.
As a kid and throughout my younger years Worman’s was a family staple. Their deli, bakery and restaurant were tops. I miss them today after all the years!
For many years I am told that Whiteway Deli on King St got their authentic Jewish Rye bread loaves from Wormans. In the traditional loaf shape, narrow at the ends and wide in the middle, when we would go to (the original) Whiteway (south of Park St) we would always look behind the deli case to see whether we would be getting a skinny sandwich or a great big one from the middle of the loaf! Great memories of that favorite place! Sammy’s folks were the best!