The real estate community is buzzing over a listing for Famous 4th Street Delicatessen in Queen Village.

The city's quintessential deli - which has held the southwest corner of Fourth and Bainbridge Streets for decades, providing not only overstuffed corned beef sandwiches and shotput-size matzo balls but an easy zone of neutrality for politicos on Election Day - is being offered for $5 million.

That's the whole schmear: the business, the name, and the real estate.

Asked about the listing, which hit Loopnet on Oct. 19, owner Russ Cowan chuckled.

"It's always been for sale," Cowan said. "I just changed [real estate] agents. My standard answer is what every business owner would say: For the right number, I'll sell."

Cowan, a fourth-generation Brooklyn deli man, has made a career of setting up great delis and selling them. He bought Famous from the founder's son, David Auspitz, in 2005, gutting it and renovating. Auspitz kept the Famous cookie company, which he sold early this year.

City records say the building sold for $700,000 in 2005. The sale of the business was not public record.

Cowan expressed some degree of surprise that he has held Famous for 11-plus years. "It's been a very good store for me," he said.

The listing from Pat and Kathy Conway of BHHS Fox & Roach-Center City Walnut counts 7,263 square feet of space on three floors. "A BONA FIDE Philadelphia landmark boasting an established loyal customer base for nearly 100 years," reads the listing. "Its name says it all."

Cowan said he wanted any buyer to keep Famous going. He also said he still has another deli opening in him right now, at 61, "if I was lucky enough to find a buyer now." 
One thing is clear: The business is not going anywhere. "I'm not slacking off," Cowan said. "In fact, I'm painting right now." 
The deli's opening year has been debated.

The store's history says 1923, but that was the year that Auspitz's father, Sam, then a teenager, his two brothers, and two brothers-in-law opened their first store, at 31st and York Streets in North Philadelphia. Other stores followed: Marshall and Poplar Streets, on Bustleton Avenue, and in Camden. 

One source suggested 1933. But Sam Auspitz's obit from 1989 says it opened in 1941.