As Americans bid one "Late Show" host goodbye and greet his replacement, so does the menu at Hello Deli.
The Midtown sandwich shop on 53rd Street — next to the theater where the CBS late-night talk show is produced — has retired the name "Letterman" from its turkey and ham sandwich and renamed another sammie, its most popular one, "The Colbert."
"It was painful to remove [Letterman's] name, but I think out of respect for Stephen Colbert, it was appropriate," said celebrity deli owner Rupert Jee, once a regular guest on the retired host's "Meet the Neighbors" segment.
Jee made the change Monday, the day he says Colbert moved into the Ed Sullivan Theater.
Jee also rechristened a sandwich named after former "Late Show" musical director Paul Shaffer "The Colbert." It still costs $7.95.
The sandwich — breaded chicken cutlet, American cheese, sweet peppers, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a hero — outsells all the others on the menu. One of every three or four sandwiches sold at the deli is a "Colbert," Jee estimated.
"Since it’s the No. 1 seller, it’s very appropriate that I pass it on to Stephen Colbert because I want people screaming out his name all day long," said Jee, who opened his business two years before "The Late Show" started taping in New York.
Jee and Colbert met when the comedian walked by Hello Deli about two weeks ago, but the business owner can't say whether Colbert knows about his namesake sandwich yet.
As for whether Jee will make an appearance on the new "Late Show" after it debuts on Sept. 8, he preferred not to speculate.
"I never expected everything when the first 'Late Show' came in," said the proprietor of the business that is now a tourist destination.
"Just the fact that they’re here, that this theater’s not empty, makes me all the more happy."