Hazels Lucky Dice Delicatessen is a return to my roots and my heritage. Raised in an orthodox Kosher home, every Sunday lunch was filled with Beef Fry lettuce, tomato ( beef fry is the kosher all Beef sister to Bacon) Tongue, Cornedbeef Sandwiches, cole slaw and moms potato salad. I was raised on Brisket, Tsimmis, Stuffed Cabbage, Matzo Ball Soup, Kreplach, and Plum Kuchen. When I started college at The Memphis Academy of Arts, I went to lunch at Burkle's Bakery on Madison and the waitress asked me what I wanted. I asked her what was Catfish? She looked at me, with one raised eyebrow and her teased bright orange hair and said, "Shug, where are you from?"
Our summers and winters would be spent driving in my Dad's Edsel, straight through from Memphis to NYC or to Miami Beach, where both sides of our family lived. During these visits growing up, my memories of sliding up on the bar stools at Pumperniks and Wolfies Delicatessens on Collins Ave or walking down the streets in Jamaica, Queens, NY where my grandparents lived, stopping along the way at the Bagel shops and Italian Ice stores, are stuck in my brain, like a long lost lover.
When I moved to NYC in 1980, I found myself, late night with the munchies, on the lower east side at Katz's Delicatessen, standing in line to order the piled high pastrami sandwich and my favorite crunchy New Pickles. My go to eateries were all within walking distance of Katz's, Russ & Daughters where I would get my gravlax on a toasted Bialy and then on to Yonah Schimmels for a warm potato knish. These were the memories of the lower east side of my youth and to this day I still spend my time while in NYC at these eateries.
The memories of standing side by side with your mother, grandmother, father or mentor, these are the memories that a chef and an artist remember, inspire and and transforms us.
So I present to you Hazels Lucky Dice Delicatessen, named after my mom, an incredible cook and baker, who has kept the heritage and love light burning for 91 years. She is my inspiration for this new endeavor. Please come and enjoy...