New York-Style Deli Brooklyn's Best
General Manager Cortney Kowalski and Chef Joe Rossi prepare meals at Brooklyn’s Best.

By Jill Fox

After a long wait and some unexpected complications, a New York-Style Deli is finally opening its doors in Parkland.

Brooklyn’s Best, located at the corner of 441 and Loxahatchee Road, in the Waterways Shoppes at Parkland, will have its Grand Opening on Saturday, February 22.

Featuring New York-style bagels baked fresh daily, the menu aims to please with deli classics, like tuna and egg salad, hoagies, paninis, and traditional breakfast fare with omelets and baked goods.

“It’s an authentic New York bagel — they’re going to be awesome,” said General Manager Cortney Kowalski, who insisted their bagels will keep customers coming back.

And at the grand opening set for next weekend, the community is invited to sample a taste of what will differentiate this New York-style deli from the rest — award-winning Philly cheesesteaks.

“If you like Phillies, Joe’s cheesesteaks are amazing,” said Kowalski.

Joe Rossi has been making the award-winning sandwiches for 40 years. He has won best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Fort Lauderdale using ribeye meat and authentic hoagie rolls from Philly.

Rossi said what really makes the sandwich is the bread.

“It’s the first thing you taste,” said Rossi, who is using the same baker as in his previous Fort Lauderdale restaurant.

“We’re a New York-style deli, where you can get a great bagel or a great Philly — that’s what sets us apart,” Kowalski said. 

So, why the long wait?

Just three months after she was hired, Kowalski was diagnosed with breast cancer, putting everything on hold.

“The owners wanted the store to take off, and they wanted to wait for me to run it,” she said.

In November, Kowalski had a three-pound tumor removed, followed by a mastectomy, and radiation.

“People saw our banner go up, then they saw it come down,” said Kowalski, who has been involved in the restaurant’s opening for more than a year.

Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Kowalski has been around the food and beverage industry for her entire life. A director of food and beverage by the time she was 20, she said she practically grew up in a kitchen.

Cortney Kowalski and her son, Maverick

Her father always ran local country club concessions, which gave her her start in the industry. Kowalski managed food and beverage for seven years at Palm Aire Country Club in Pompano Beach until ClubLink purchased the golf course in 2011. She continued working with ClubLink, running food and beverage for Heron Bay Golf Club, The Woodlands Golf Club, and Palm Aire for some time.

After her son, Maverick, 6, was born, Kowalski preferred a position where she could work in the mornings, thus beginning her career with bagels. The new location’s owners wanted to bring a good quality product to Parkland and chose Kowalski to run it.

“They were so kind to wait for me, and that’s where my inspiration comes from, my motivation,” she said.

Through it all, she managed to build relationships and gain supporters from the Parkland community.

It’s been almost two years since the former owner, Brooklyn Water Bagel, abruptly closed, and plaza goers have been wondering when the next restaurant would open.

“People would stop by to ask about the status, and we would bond on a personal level because of my being sick,” said Kowalski, who feels she owes it to the owners to make the restaurant successful.

With a focus on customer service, including a very personable staff, Kowalski wants locals to feel at home at Brooklyn’s Best.

“I want people to leave happy, with a smile on their face,” said Kowalski, “That’s the goal.”

Brooklyn’s Best is located at 7679 North State Road 7 in Parkland. They are open for breakfast and lunch, every day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Author Profile

Jill Fox
Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.