MIDTOWN — Stage Deli, known for its abundant sandwiches and abundance of tourists, is no more.
The Midtown staple closed on Thursday night, after 75 years of serving sandwiches named after celebrities, The New York Times reported.
On Friday, the darkened restaurant at 834 Seventh Ave. still had tables set, but a sign thanking customers for 75 years of patronage hung on the door.
Julie Bibler, 55, and her husband Mark had just arrived from Lancaster, Ohio for a weekend in the city, and had hoped to grab a lunch of corned beef sandwiches, only to find the restaurant closed.
"I can't believe it," Bibler said. "We've eaten here before. It was fantastic. I thought it would be here forever."
The deli's owner, Paul Zolenge, told the Times he shut it down because of the cost of doing business in New York and a steadily raising rent.
In an interview with the Times, Zolenge said he would be open to selling the Stage Deli name to someone interested in re-opening it.
The deli, which first opened in 1937, was one of several competitors along Seventh Avenue. A few blocks north, dozens of hungry customers waited outside rival Carnegie Deli, which was overrun with business in the wake of Stage's closure.
"I'm sad that it's gone," said Eva Wills, 27, who was in town for business from Kentucky and waiting in the lineup.
"But I've always wanted to try this place, so I guess now's the time."