Russ & Daughters

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Storefront on Houston Street

Russ & Daughters is an appetizing store[1] opened in 1914. It is located at 179 East Houston Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York City. A family-operated store, it has been at the same location since 1914.

History[edit]

Joel Russ, an Eastern European immigrant who arrived in America from Poland around 1905, started the business to cater to the Jewish immigrants settling in the Lower East Side of New York. [2] He began by carrying Polish Mushrooms on his shoulders, and saved enough money to purchase a pushcart. He then expanded his operation and sold pickled herring as well as Polish Mushrooms. Then in 1914, Joel Russ opened J Russ International Appetizers, a storefront around the corner from the current location.

In 1920, Joel Russ opened his store at the current location of 179 East Houston Street. In 1933, he renamed the business "Russ and Daughters" after making his three daughters, Hattie, Anne, and Ida, partners in the store. Historically, businesses typically took on the name "and sons", but since Russ and his wife Bella only had daughters, his business became Russ & Daughters. However, Joel Russ was not a feminist ahead of his time. For him, getting his daughters into the business was not a matter of women's rights, but a matter of parnosa, or surviving to make a business. As he put it, he was concerned with Vi nemptmen parnosa, meaning 'From where do we take our living.' [3] According to Hattie, she and the other daughters had all worked in the store "since they were 8 years old" on weekends, fishing out the herring fillets from the pickle barrels. Once each one of them finished high school, they all worked full-time. Moreover, Joel Russ kept the store open seven days a week.

Calvin Trillin wrote about Russ & Daughters in the 1970s in his New Yorker food pieces. [4]

In 2008 The Jews of New York documentary premiered on PBS, featuring three generations of the Russ & Daughters family (Anne Russ Federman and Hattie Russ Gold, the two surviving Russ daughters; Mark Russ Federman, then the proprietor; Niki Russ Federman; and Josh Russ Tupper.) [5] The documentary tells, among other things, the story of Russ & Daughters from the early 1900s to the (then) present. [6] [7] [8]

Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built, by Mark Russ Federman (grandson of Joel Russ), with an introduction by Calvin Trillin, was published in 2013. [9]

Russ & Daughters received the 2013 Jewish Cultural Achievement Award, making it the first restaurant to receive a Jewish Cultural Achievement Award. [10]

In 2014, The Sturgeon Queens, a documentary about Russ & Daughters, premiered. It features, among others, Anne Russ Federman, 92 years old at the time, and Hattie Russ Gold, 100 years old at the time, who were the two surviving Russ daughters; the third daughter, Ida, had died. [11] [12] The Sturgeon Queens was Joel Russ’ affectionate nickname for his daughters. [13]

Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Federman, cousins, now run Russ & Daughters, the 4th generation of Russes to do so. [14] In 2014 they opened the restaurant Russ & Daughters Café on Orchard Street. [15]

Undated appearances[edit]

Josh Russ Tupper appeared on The Martha Stewart Show to make Chopped Liver, the Oy Vey Schmear sandwich, Whitefish & Baked Salmon Salad and the Super Heebster sandwich. [16]

The Leonard Lopate Show on NPR discussed Russ & Daughters. [17] WNYC featured Russ & Daughters when Amy Eddings reported on "Last Change Foods", in a segment called "A Palatable Passover: Russ & Daughters explains matzo, gefilte fish and charoset." [18]

Russ & Daughters was also featured on two episodes of the TV series Louie and in the theatrical movie Lola Versus.

References[edit]

Notes
Further reading
  • "A fourth-generation business, Russ & Daughters is a reminder of the people that, historically, make this city what it is. You know them, you trust them, and they promise to do right by you." The New York Times Magazine[volume & issue needed]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°43′21″N 73°59′18″W / 40.722616°N 73.988296°W / 40.722616; -73.988296