After 102 years on the Lower East Side, Russ & Daughters, the landmark New York City appetizing shop and restaurant, has opened a location on the Upper East Side at the Jewish Museum, the preeminent U.S. institution exploring art and Jewish culture for over 110 years.
Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum is a kosher 60-seat, sit-down restaurant and a take-out appetizing counter on the Museum’s lower level. The restaurant is now open, and the appetizing counter will open soon. The space was designed by Galia Solomonoff of Solomonoff Architecture Studio and features a large mural by celebrated artist Maira Kalman.
Purveyors of the highest quality smoked fish, bagels, traditional baked goods, and appetizing foods, Russ & Daughters and the Russ & Daughters Cafe have garnered wide critical acclaim – including two stars from The New York Times, and being named #2 on Pete Wells’s list of “The Best New Restaurants of 2014.”
Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum offers a selection of classic appetizing foods drawn from the original Russ & Daughters shop as well as Russ & Daughters Cafe: including smoked fish platters, Russ & Daughters bagels and bialys, knishes, herring, salads, soups, egg creams, cocktails, and classic desserts such as babka. Bagels and traditional baked goods are made at Russ & Daughters Bagels & Bakery, the company’s new production space in Brooklyn. The appetizing counter will offer traditional smoked fish and spreads by the pound, as well as bagel sandwiches prepared for take-out.
“Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum will enhance the visitor experience while bringing together two century-old, iconic Jewish institutions to offer our audiences traditional favorites alongside newly reinterpreted classics” said Claudia Gould, the Museum’s Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director. “This partnership reflects the Museum’s commitment to exploring art and Jewish culture, from historical to contemporary, while infusing it with an up-to-date sensibility.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Jewish Museum. It’s a great shidduch (match). As stewards of New York culture and Jewish culture, both of our institutions appreciate that our role in preserving tradition also means embracing change,” said Niki Russ Federman, 4th Generation owner of Russ & Daughters.
“After 102 years in New York City, we’re delighted to bring a unique and authentic piece of New York City’s cultural and culinary heritage and history from the Lower East Side to the Upper East Side. We are excited to participate in making the Jewish Museum even more of a must-see destination for visitors and locals alike,” added Josh Russ Tupper, 4th Generation owner of Russ & Daughters.
The space is designed by Galia Solomonoff of Solomonoff Architecture Studio, blending the inspiration of the iconic Russ & Daughters appetizing shop and cafe with the Jewish Museum’s landmark building, the former Warburg mansion on Museum Mile at Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street. The Museum’s previous cafe interior was stripped away to reveal the original vaulted clay tile ceiling, masonry walls, and window openings, creating a generous space within which to bring in Russ & Daughters’ signature look and feel through the careful selection of materials, form, and color. Russ & Daughters, the Jewish Museum, and Solomonoff worked to integrate existing materials with contemporary additions so that, for example, the original clay tile ceiling exists harmoniously with a new concrete floor. Hexagonal tiles at the perimeter are a direct reference to the tiles in the original Russ & Daughters shop, here rendered in a feathered pattern, a deconstructed twist. The windows were reopened to allow natural light into the space. Custom built banquettes and lights throughout were specially designed by SAS to be practical during the day yet lend a warm and festive atmosphere at night.
Artist Maira Kalman has created a large-scale mural for Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum to celebrate this new partnership. Maira Kalman has a longstanding relationship with both institutions-her work is in the Jewish Museum’s collection, and she and her family have been longtime customers of Russ & Daughters. Spanning a 20-foot wall in the restaurant, the mural is an assemblage of 120 vignettes and small scenes reflecting the artist’s appreciation of good food, shared human pleasure, and her sense that Russ & Daughters represents a New York City infused with a sense of character, yearning, and humor. Commissioned by the Jewish Museum, Kalman’s mural is aptly called In This Life, There Was Very Much (2015). In This Life, There Was Very Much (2015) by Maira Kalman is made possible by a donation in loving memory of Rella Wieder by her mother, Edith Wieder.
Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum is kosher, supervised by National Kosher Supervision, under the auspices of Rabbi Aaron Mehlman. Rabbi Mehlman continues his affiliation with the Jewish Museum and its restaurants.
The entire space as well as a 20-seat private dining area are available for rental. Russ & Daughters is also the preferred caterer for events held in the Museum’s beautiful ballroom-like auditorium.
Initially, Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum will be open Sunday – Wednesday 11AM – 5:45PM, Thursday 11AM – 8PM, Friday 11AM-4PM with plans to expand operating hours after the initial roll-out period. The restaurant and take-out appetizing counter are accessible to museum visitors and the general public. Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum is located on the Museum’s lower level.