Release Date: February 24, 2016
Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum Opens
New York, NY — 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.
About Russ & Daughters
Purveyors of the highest quality smoked fish, caviar, and specialty foods, Russ & Daughters is New York's premier appetizing shop. Since 1914, this landmark New York City institution has been continuously owned and operated by four generations of the Russ family. In the same spot on East Houston Street, and run by the same family for 102 years, Russ & Daughters continues to provide the tastes and traditions of a true New York experience. In 2014, upon the 100th anniversary of Russ & Daughters, 4th Generation Owners Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Federman opened Russ & Daughters Cafe - a restaurant on Orchard Street, the street where their great grandfather peddled herring from a barrel and a pushcart. In 2016, Russ & Daughters opened a new space combining retail appetizing counter and restaurant: Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum. 2016 also saw the launch of Russ & Daughters Bagels & Bakery, where Russ & Daughters makes all of its own bagels, bialys, shissel rye bread, pumpernickel, babka, black and white cookies, and other traditional baked goods.
Niki and Josh Russ, and Russ & Daughters, have been honored with awards from the New York City Mayor's Office, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, The Foundation for Jewish Culture, and State Senator Daniel Squadron who introduced a resolution that was unanimously passed by the New York State Senate "Commending Russ and Daughters upon the occasion of celebrating its 100th Anniversary."
Russ & Daughters and the Russ & Daughters Cafe have received praise in countless national and international publications, and the cafe was named #2 on Pete Wells's New York Times list of "The 10 Best New Restaurants of 2014." Russ & Daughters has been featured in the PBS documentaries: The Jews of New York and The Sturgeon Queens - highlighting the contributions of multiple generations of the Russ family during the past century. This past year, The Sturgeon Queens, by Director Julie Cohen, has received many outstanding accolades and has also been screened and honored at prestigious film festivals across the country and around the world.
Joel Russ, an Eastern European immigrant who arrived in America in 1907, started the business from a herring barrel and a pushcart to cater to the throngs of Jewish immigrants settling in New York City's Lower East Side. In 1920, he opened his store at 179 East Houston Street, after a few years of operating out of a storefront around the corner. He renamed the business "Russ & Daughters," after his three daughters who joined him as the second generation in the business. Mark Russ Federman succeeded as the 3rd Generation, and is now retired. Mark Russ Federman is the author of a celebrated memoir: Russ & Daughters: The House That Herring Built (published by Schocken/Random House). Russ & Daughters is owned and operated by the 4th Generation of the Russ family: Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper.
About the Jewish Museum
Located on Museum Mile at Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, the Jewish Museum is one of the world's preeminent institutions devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture from ancient to contemporary, offering intellectually engaging, educational, and provocative exhibitions and programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary as the core of a museum collection. The Jewish Museum was the first such institution in the United States and is the oldest existing Jewish museum in the world. Subsequent gifts and purchases have helped to form the Museum's unparalleled permanent collection. Today, the Museum maintains a collection of over 30,000 works of art, artifacts, and broadcast media reflecting global Jewish identity, and presents a diverse schedule of internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions.
In 1944, Frieda Schiff Warburg, widow of the prominent businessman and philanthropist Felix Warburg, donated the family mansion at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street to the Seminary for use as a museum. Designed in the French Gothic chateau-style by architect Charles P. H. Gilbert, the original building was completed in 1908, and has been the home of the Museum since 1947. A major expansion and renovation project took place from 1990 to 1993.
The Jewish Museum's programming includes large temporary exhibitions of an interdisciplinary nature, often employing a combination of art and artifacts interpreted through the lens of social history. The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 (2011) and The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film (2015) are examples of this type of exhibition. Works of modern and contemporary artists are regularly presented in group exhibitions such as Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities (1996), Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976 (2008), Other Primary Structures (2014), and Unorthodox (2015). Exhibitions focusing on the art acquired by such pioneering Jewish collectors as the Cone sisters of Baltimore (2011) and Helena Rubinstein (2014) are also offered. In addition, the Museum is known for monographic shows of such significant artists as Camille Pissarro (1995), Marc Chagall (2013, 2001, and 1996), Amedeo Modigliani (2004), Eva Hesse (2006), Louise Nevelson (2007), Maira Kalman (2011), Edouard Vuillard (2012), Jack Goldstein (2013), Art Spiegelman (2013), Mel Bochner (2014), and Isaac Mizrahi (opening March 18, 2016).
The Jewish Museum is grateful for the support of the Weissman family, the Jewish Museum Board of Trustees through the Strategic Transition Fund, Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Foundation, an anonymous gift, Mimi & Barry Alperin in honor of their parents Max & Ruth Alperin and David & Vera Fish, and the family of Joseph L. Mailman whose contributions have made the restaurant and take-out appetizing counter possible.
About SAS/Solomonoff Architecture Studio
Established in New York City in 2004, SAS/Solomonoff Architecture Studio, is an award-winning firm with an acquired reputation for work that is tailored, discrete, and precise. The firm's work ranges in scope from adaptive reuse, including the 300,000 sf Dia:Beacon, a Museum in Beacon, New York, to new construction, such as the 70,000 sf Uberlandia Bus Station in Minas Gerais, Brazil, to designing museum exhibitions, like The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film at the Jewish Museum in New York City, to high end restaurants, including Kappo Masa, a 4,000 sf venue at 976 Madison, for the gallerist Larry Gagosian. The firm emphasizes the integration of design concepts and construction details aimed to create projects with a comprehensive sensibility and careful definition. Solomonoff Architecture Studio specializes in working with artists and curators to install art in site specific locations. SAS/Solomonoff Architecture Studio is a New York State licensed minority/women-owned business. Galia Solomonoff and Talene Montgomery of SAS were in charge of the project.
About Galia Solomonoff
Galia Solomonoff, of Argentine origin, has lived and worked in New York City since 1987. She is the principal of SAS/Solomonoff Architecture Studio in Chelsea and has a long history of working with spaces where contemporary art and architecture interact. With Robert Irwin, Ms. Solomonoff oversaw the conversation of a 1929 factory into a daylight-only museum of Dia:Beacon in Beacon New York. Solomonoff is Associate Professor of Architecture at GSAPP, Columbia University. Solomonoff travels regularly with students to Columbia's Studio X Global Centers and aims to combine art, architecture and further their mission in the cultural and public spheres.
About Maira Kalman
Maira Kalman is an illustrator, author and designer who illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and a unique sense of humor. Hers is a daily discipline of creativity based on photography, travel, research, walking, talking and open observation. She is the author/illustrator of 15 children's books including Max Makes A Million, What Pete Ate and Looking at Lincoln. Her works for adults include an illustrated edition of Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style. Kalman is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker and her illustrated essays for The New York Times are compiled in two volumes, The Principles of Uncertainty and And the Pursuit of Happiness. Collaborations include those with the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, the choreographer Mark Morris and the composer Nico Muhly. She is the "M" in M&Co, the revolutionary design firm founded by her late husband, Tibor Kalman. Her family roots are in Belarus, where much herring was consumed. She is the owner of a pair of Toscanini's pants.