An Ode to Russ & Daughters


 On the Lower East Side you live, where you’ve been since 1914,

you’ve seen the city through highs and lows, from behind a façade shaded white & green.

Unpretentious, never boastful, just a neon-lit fixture along Houston Street,

Let the tourists go to Katz’s, when I’m in town, I know where to eat.

I get a coffee, take a number and then wait for you to call me,

in the winter the store is a respite; in the summer, it gets quite balmy.

Just a few minutes now, as I look things over in the deli case and along the walls,

salty, briny, fatty treats await my decision, yet the smoked stuff inevitably calls.


I want caviar, I want herring, I want sable, I want lox…

but deep-down, I know that the smoked sturgeon truly rocks.

Yes, you have bagels (although from where, I do not know),

they seem too inflated, to bulky; I’d prefer ones from Montreal – let’s go!

Not complaining, so it’s a sesame with a scallion shmear, a few slices of sturgeon as well,

on the side: a few fillets of matjes, as well as mustard-dill herring, that would be swell.


On this trip, there will be no caviar, or smoked salmon salad or even a sweet,

like macaroons or rugelach – those treats will be bought next time, to share and to eat.

I love you Russ & Daughters, your appetizers make me feel like a little boy;

why don’t you do the right thing, and open a second store, in Chicago (Illinois)?


Russ & Daughters

179 E. Houston St., New York City




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