Russ and Daughters- 179 East Houston Street- family owned and operated for a century. Much like Yonah, of Yonah Shimmel’s knishes, Joel Russ was an immigrant who came to New York’s lower east side from Poland in 1907, but unlike Yonah he could not afford a pushcart.

Legend has it that when Joel Russ first came to America, at 14 years old, he carried dried Polish mushrooms on his back and sold them to his neighbors. When Joel earned enough money he bought a pushcart and sold both the dried Polish mushrooms, and salted pickled herring, on the lower east side. By the time Joel was 21 years old he had saved enough money to open up Russ Cut Rate Appetizes which would eventually be renamed Russ and Daughters.  It just goes to show how determined he was to live the American dream and how lucky we are that he succeeded.

My Relationship with Russ and Daughters

I have been shopping at Russ and Daughters for over 20 years. Whenever my husband’s family come in from Las Vegas one of the first places they want to go to is the lower east side. Their visit always includes a trip to Russ & Daughters, Yonah Shimmel’s Knishes and Katz’s. On the weekends, Russ and Daughters is packed but I have found that during the week, and sometimes later in the day, it is not so crowded.

My sister in law and her children, with eyes opened wide, immediately head to the dried fruits. No where can you get better tasting dried fruit then Russ and Daughters. Some of my favorites are the California & Turkish apricots, peaches and figs. My sister in law and her kids also love the pears and dates. Even though they buy quite a bit of the dried fruit they never seem to make it home with any. Next I head straight to the Babka. The chocolate Babka is so soft and incredibly chocolaty and they also have delicious raspberry rugelach.  Although I’m not a fan of the macaroons that they are currently being sold in the smattering of Macaroon stores that are popping up all over the City, Russ and Daughters hand dipped macaroons are incredibly good and remind me of the macaroons that my mother in law would serve for dessert during the Jewish holidays. My nieces and nephew also go crazy for the chocolate jelly rings.

Russ and Daughters Russ and Daughters Russ and Daughters

Next onto the smoked fish sandwiches. I’m a traditionalist so for me it’s the Classic… Norwegian smoked salmon on a sesame bagel with veggie cream cheese. My brother-in-law (Mr. adventure) always tries something different every time we go. Last time it was the Pastrami Russ, which is pastrami –cured salmon with sauerkraut and mustard on an everything bagel with cream cheese. He thought that the pastrami lox actually did taste meaty. My teenage niece went for the Heebster sandwich, which consists of whitefish & baked salmon salad with horseradish dill cream cheese on a bagel . They have many other sandwich selections, all with funny creative names and all equally delicious. If you like caviar Russ and Daughters also has one of the finest varieties.

We always leave Russ and Daughters with full bags and in search of a place to sit our tuchuses while making plans for our return visit.

Russ & Daughters | 179 East Houston Street New York, NY 10002 | Tel 212.475.4880

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About The Author

Resident Tourist

Born here. Lives here and never leaving. The nicest person to ever not speak in public. Loves New York