The Family-Run Store That’s Sold New York’s Best Lox Since 1914

Russ & Daughters has served its beloved bagels, bialys and smoked fish for over a century, but its legacy is about much more than food.

Russ & Daughters, at 179 East Houston Street, in 2018. Paul Quitoriano

Mr. Russ had no sons, so he gave the store to his three daughters, and one of them, Anne, begot Mark and Tara, and Mark begot Niki, and Tara, Josh. Niki and Josh opened the Russ & Daughters Cafe on Orchard Street in 2014 and, two years later, another one at the Jewish Museum uptown. They’re the fourth generation, and counting.

On the front of the shop is the pink-and-green neon sign with two little lox next to the lettering. Outside, a line has formed. A new generation has discovered the shop, and if you are a real Russ-nik, you wait. After all, inside is Paradise.

In the 1940s with the original staff inside. Courtesy of Russ & Daughters

To your left as you enter is a counter that runs the length of the store. Here is the shining pink lox, that fatty, salty, cured-belly lox that, with cream cheese on a bagel,has given its name to the greatest sandwich ever produced by humankind — this is a fine thing anywhere, but at Russ, it is the ne plus ultra. And then down the counter is the more expensive, less salty, la-di-da Nova. Other smoked salmons are arrayed in one of the glass cases, like a United Nations of salmon: salmons from Norway, Scotland, Ireland. There’s smoked sturgeon that will produce creamy translucent slices and smoked sable (black cod) and those little golden-skinned chub, baby-size white fish, not to mention caviars and roes, vats of cream cheese, scallion and the herrings in cream sauce, in wine sauce, chopped herring salad, fresh herrings from Holland, when they come, or French herring, if you’re fancy. Latkes are now available all year round; so is the gefilte fish and matzo ball soup, once sold only for Passover.

(read the full article at The New York Times magazine, T)

You may also like