You might have seen its now-iconic logo emblazoned on the tote bag of the very glamorous Londoner you saw grocery shopping the other week. Perhaps you read about Harry Styles buying an inordinate amount (£3,000’s worth, to be exact) of sea bass from there to be delivered to Liam Gallagher. Maybe your favourite food influencer has posted about its salmon bagels being the best in town. However it has come into your consciousness, there’s no doubt that if you have existed in London then you are aware, in some way shape or form, of Panzer’s Deli.

Opened in 1944 by Austrian refugee Mr Panzer and his business partner, Walter Vogl from Czechoslovakia, Panzer’s Deli quickly became a defining food destination for the residents of North London in a time when Jewish people were facing persecution across the European continent. Food is unique in its capacity to provide connection – to people, to family, to home and to culture – and so Panzer’s became something of a haven for the residents of this leafy enclave in North London, in particular the area’s thriving Jewish community.

For more than 70 years Panzer’s deli remained in St John’s Wood, under the same ownership. While Mr Panzer stepped away from the partnership early on, the shop continued to bear his name and remained under the operation of the Vogl family, being passed from Walter Vogl down to his son, Peter. It was in 2015 when David Josephs heard a rumour that Peter Vogl was considering selling up, and stepped in to request that, if Panzer’s was to be sold, he could be the buyer. Josephs was already in the greengrocer business, owning three high-end stores around North London, but his reasons for purchasing Panzer’s transcended simply business interests.

“I have a history with Panzer’s,” Josephs tells me. “I’ve been coming since I was about four or five, when my grandparents would bring me in a pram on a Sunday morning. So I’ve been shopping here for quite a few years, and I just thought it would be a tragedy for it to be turned into a supermarket.”

Joseph’s is emphatic on the subject of the rejuvenation of Britain’s shopping culture, and enthusiastic about the topic of food stores in general. “My passion is to try and revitalise high streets. I’m sort of anti-supermarkets, and anti what they stand for,” he tells me. “They devalue products.” That stands in direct contrast to businesses like Panzer’s, though, whose approach to sourcing products of the highest quality and provenance is key to ideas about the rejuvenation of the high street.

I have a history with Panzer's, and I just thought it would be a tragedy for it to be turned into a supermarket

It hawks back to how we engaged with shopping in the days that Panzer's first opened. As Josephs puts it, high streets were like “the old rhyme: the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.” He says that if you have a good butcher, a good fishmonger and a great bakery and cafe then people will come. Panzer's, with its shining selection of produce, incredible products and pop-culture entrenched fish, epitomises this exact point, becoming a destination for not just locals but wider Londoners and international visitors alike.

That is not to say, however, that the Panzer's of today is the same as the Panzer's of 1944. For one thing, it moved from its original location to its current one in 1956. For another, Josephs gave the space a rather significant facelift after its purchase, a process that took three years. “It was very run-down,” Josephs tells me. “It hadn’t really been invested in for the last 25 years. All the fridges were falling apart. One always has to worry when one’s on first name terms with the fridge mechanic,” he laughs.

Panzer’s as a destination is still very much a home for traditional Jewish cuisine – lox and bagels being its most iconic dish – but, as Josephs says, the deli has a distinctly international feel, selling products from as far away as Australia and New Zealand. On my visit, upon finding out I’m a Kiwi, he walks me through the shop, pointing out the various products from my homeland, rhapsodising about a trip he took there and how much he loved the foods he tried. It’s heartwarming, not only for the evident love for New Zealand, but also the tangible adoration he has for quality products and food.

“Peter did a great job in the sense that he evolved by making it international, and therefore he was very much aware of the food trends and the residents of the local area,” he tells me. “He adapted the store to bring in wider European products, or to bring food from Russia or Japan. I think we’ve taken on that mantle, and what we’ve done is maybe upgraded and gone further afield. They never would have imported anything themselves. Whereas we go anywhere in the world, and we bring products in from anywhere, like Fix & Fogg peanut butter from New Zealand, or dried grapes from Australia.”

Thinking about what has contributed to the venue’s voracious cult following, it’s this international view that continuously springs to mind. London has no shortage of high-end produce stores and delis, and yet Panzer's has been successful in capturing the consciousness of the city as a whole. This is perhaps thanks to Josephs’ commitment to stocking world products which means that someone from as far away as, say, New Zealand, can walk into that store and feel that warm hum that comes with a connection to home.

Much like how Panzer's provided that safe haven for the Jewish community when it first opened, it now offers that to locals and visitors from across the world, while still keeping to its roots – challah bread, matzo balls and all.