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Beloved Lower East Side institution Russ & Daughters has spent the past 103 years perfecting the art of “appetizing.” The term encompasses the many delicacies associated with that ultimate Jewish-American culinary tradition—the bagel. From wafer-thin slices of smoked salmon to delicate curls of red onion and handfuls of juicy capers, this neon-lit establishment serves New York City’s finest selection of smoked fish, pickled herring fillets and cream cheese spreads on freshly baked bagels.

When founder Joel Russ arrived in America at the turn of the 20th century, he made his living peddling schmaltz herring from a pushcart to his fellow Eastern European Jews. A brick and mortar store, Russ, eventually opened on East Houston Street. Three daughters later, the shop’s name changed. A century on, Russ & Daughters is a renowned purveyor of Jewish-American food to a devoted following. Throughout the many changes, the store’s pursuit of perfection has remained.

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Seven

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