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Russ & Daughters Delivers… Well, Almost

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Griping about the seemingly arbitrary delivery policies of New York City's restaurants and food shops is a popular sport. This is especially true if you live below Delancey Street, or Siberia, as some businesses seem to regard the neighborhood. Case in point: Lo-Down contributor Mitch Weinstein's (tastytravails.com) ordeal getting delivery from everyone's favorite appetizing store, Russ & Daughters.

Many of my friends, all of my family and even those who don't know me, from Significant Eater on down, know how much I love Russ & Daughters. I've touted it on sites such as eGullet,
where I volunteer as a host. I recommend it to people coming to the
city when they ask where they might get the best appetizing (or bagel
and lox) in Manhattan – because it really is the best (try the white
fish salad, if you don't believe me). Over the years, I've sent Russ
& Daughters gift boxes across the country to friends, and down to
family members in Florida. SE and I have taken it to family get-togethers – and serve it at home on those (rare) occasions when we have
people over for breakfast…or, heaven forbid, brunch (my least
favorite meal – why does it even exist?).

I digress. The other
morning, we happened to have a friend here who had spent the night –
same dude we sent Russ & Daughters to in California, by the way,
when he and his wife had their first kid. So I figured, lets have
appetizing…check out the wiki,
and note the picture within their definition. Only, for the first time
ever, I didn't feel like walking up to Houston Street and back – a
slight hangover will do that to me – so I picked up the phone and
called to see if they deliver…they certainly do, only not to my

Now, you gotta understand, if you look at their
website , there's a fairly defined map. Our address in not technically
on the map, but it's closer than a good percentage of the delivery area
that is – including two of the four buildings in our co-op! We live in
Seward Park Housing, one of the giant co-ops along Grand St., where two
of the four buildings have addresses on Grand (within the delivery area,
btw), but the other two (ours included) have addresses on East Broadway,
which is evidently not. However, our front door can be entered
from Clinton St., as can our sister building across the street – the
one with the Grand St. address – only we're a block closer to the
store. Still, no delivery…well, there is a delivery, but it'll cost
you $13.50 please, to travel less far and take less time. The same
amount they charge you to schlep up to 85th street on the upper west
side. Makes no sense.

The best and most direct route to our
building is .8 miles walking, according to Google. Every far-flung
corner of their delivery map is .8 miles – well, except Broadway/Grand,
which is actually further, at .9 miles. Take a look at this map, and
the route to our building, to see why I gripe:

View Larger Map

this morning, Russ & Daughters was kind enough to grant me
clemency. Well, not really. I had to go out and meet the delivery guy
on the corner of Grand and Clinton. Sorta like that Seinfeld episode
where the Chinese delivery guy wouldn't cross 86th street to deliver
Elaine's order and she has to adopt a janitor's closet on the other side of the street. Oy vey. I'm actually thinking of talking to my dry cleaners, with his address on Grand St.

our co-op has 1,728 apartments. Yes, 1,728 apartments…and by not
delivering to 50% of our co-op, Russ & Daughters is basically saying we don't want
those 850 or so apartments as customers. Lots of Jewish peeps too – I'm
one, as is Significant Eater.

And even though the lox and gaspe
and whitefish salad and herring and mini-bagels (which are the only
ones I buy, cause the big bagels suck) and cream cheese were all as
delicious as ever, I can't help thinking that founding patriarch Joel
Russ would be giving his mishpucha a slap upside the head
while saying "What's the matter? Another 10 yards is too far for you to
walk? And what, you don't want another potential 800 customers? Mishugah."

Visit Mitch at his blog, Tasty Travails.

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