Appetizing store

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Exterior shot of small urban food retailer
Russ & Daughters, an appetizing store in New York's Lower East Side.

An appetizing store, typically in reference to Jewish cuisine in New York City, particularly Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, is a store that sells "food that generally goes with bagels", although appetizings can also be served with a variety of breads. Appetizings include smoked and pickled fish and fish spreads, pickled vegetables, cream cheese spreads and other cheeses.

Most appetizing stores were opened in the later 1800s and the early 1900s. In 1930, there were 500 such stores in New York City; by 2015 there were fewer than ten. The concept started to experience a revitalization in the 2010s with the opening of new stores in Toronto, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn.


The word "appetizing" is sometimes shortened to "appy" and is used both for the stores and the foods they sell.[1][2][3] The term is used typically among American Jews, especially those in the New York City area in neighborhoods with traditionally large Jewish populations.[4][5] Saveur traced the term back to food similar to "the cold appetizers that would have started a meal back home in Eastern Europe",[6] although scholars Hasia Diner, Eve Jochnowitz and Norma Joseph say the foods were American foods and others, such as lox, that would have been new to immigrants from Eastern Europe.[7]

According to the New York Times, as of 2004 the term was not used outside of New York City.[4]


The stores sell food that Thrillist describes as "food that generally goes with bagels", although Milton Glaser and Jerome Snyder wrote that appetizings might be served with a variety of breads and rolls, including bialys, challah, corn rye bread, Jewish rye, onion rolls, Russian health bread, and seeded hard rolls.[8][9][10] The Village Voice described appetizing as "the many pickled, smoked, cured, and cultured edibles served alongside bagels and bialys".[3]

Appetizing includes both dairy and "parve" (neither dairy nor meat) food items such as lox (smoked salmon), sable, whitefish, cream cheese spreads, pickled vegetables, along with candies, nuts, and dried fruit.[9] According to a 1968 New York Magazine article, the foods are typically served for Sunday brunch.[9] Jewish kashrut dietary laws specify that meat and dairy products cannot be eaten together or sold in the same places.[1]


The stores are different from delicatessens in that an appetizing store is a place that sells fish and dairy products but no meat, whereas a kosher delicatessen sells meats but no dairy.[1] Thrillist called them "the deli's other half".[8]

In 1930, there were 500 appetizing stores in New York City, and a similar number in 1950.[8][7] The majority were opened in the late 1800s and early 1900s.[11] In the 1950s and 1960s, the stores started to close as the owners' children pursued other careers and supermarkets started carrying Jewish specialties.[7] By 2015, there were fewer than 10 remaining.[8] Shelsky's in Cobble Hill was the first appetizing store to open in Brooklyn in 60 years when it opened in 2011.[8] In 2014, an appetizing store opened in Toronto.[12] In 2021, a shop modeled on the concept opened in Philadelphia.[13]

Notable establishments[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Feldmar, Jamie (27 December 2011). "Lox Lens: Appetizing Shops In NYC, Then And Now". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2017.
  2. ^ Achitoff-Gray, Niki (6 November 2019). "Lox, Whitefish, and Beyond: An Introduction to Appetizing". Serious Eats. Archived from the original on 2014-09-27. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  3. ^ a b Feldman, Zachary (2016-04-19). "The Ten Best Appetizing Counters in NYC". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 2020-08-17. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  4. ^ a b Michael Pollak (27 June 2004). "F.Y.I." New York Times.
  5. ^ Joseph Berger (2 July 2007). "No more Babka? There goes the neighborhood". New York Times.
  6. ^ Sax, David (23 January 2014). "Appetizing Stores". Saveur. Archived from the original on 2014-01-05. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  7. ^ a b c "Appetizing - An American New York Jewish Food Tradition Transcript". Association for Jewish Studies. Archived from the original on 2021-01-28. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  8. ^ a b c d e Walsh, Chris M. "The Deli's Other Half: The Rise, Fall, and Revival of NYC's Appetizing Stores". Thrillist. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  9. ^ a b c Glaser, Milton; Snyder, Jerome (1968-07-22). A Gentile's Guide to Jewish Food Part 1:The Appetizing Store. New York. pp. 35–39.
  10. ^ Wood, Yamit Behar (2019-01-23). "The Appetizing World of Murray's". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 2020-06-21. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  11. ^ Ilyashov, Alexandra (2018-10-15). "NYC's Top Jewish Appetizing Spots". Eater. Archived from the original on 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  12. ^ Youdan, Caroline (2014-10-06). "Anthony Rose is opening a Jewish "appetizing store" behind Fat Pasha". Toronto Life. Archived from the original on 2015-12-20. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  13. ^ Panzer, Sophie (2021-01-14). "New South Philly Shop Pays Homage to Traditional Jewish 'Appetizing Stores,' Features Artisanal Smoked Fish". Jewish Exponent. Archived from the original on 2021-01-15. Retrieved 2021-02-03.