Anyone who’s addicted to Russ & Daughters, knows Herman Vargas (see photo), the legendary appetizing store’s longtime manager. If you head over to the shop’s blog, Lox Populi, you’ll see plenty of photos from last week’s celebration honoring Vargas’s 30 years of service. He started in the kitchen peeling onions when he was 17. As Russ & Daughters notes, Herman has been:
“…right hand man to three generations of the Russ family, friend and go-to-guy for countless customers, and he was immortalized as “Herman the Artistic Slicer” in Calvin Trillin’s book, Tepper Isn’t Going Out. Russ & Daughters would not be what it is today without Herman.”
Trillin himself apparently delivered an inspired and hilarious toast. and then there was the original poem, written and recited by Alina Sheffi, who’s been behind the counter at Russ & Daughters for a mere 20 years. See the poem in its entirety after the jump.
Oy Vey Schmear,
Boychick is here.
From a shtetl in the Dominican Republic he took a flight,
And soon became a Daughter’s Delight.
From working in the kitchen to the front,
He made it!
He’s a Heebster.
Going through the generations
With Anne and Mark and now the kinder,
He became a Super Heebster.
He used to live in the building with his family,
And on shabbos when he was off, he would get a little antsy.
So he would take a stroll in the neighborhood,
All Fancy on Delancey
On Yom Kippur he’s a bit Meshugge
But we love him like no other.
He’s always searching for the meaning of life.
Thank God he has a patient wife.
Rice and beans he ate growing up in the D.R.
But once on the Lower East Side,
It was only the finest caviar.
Herman, you used to be a Dominican,
But after 30 years,
You’re a Jewdinican.
30 years may sound like a lot,
But in Yiddish it’s gurnisht,
Which means “nothing” for a guy with such a big heart.
So zei gizunt and salut! To Herman!