Brunch Gem of the Lower East Side

Gather your lox-loving friends for brunch at one of NYC’s most famous stores

Article and photos by Victoria Wu

Brunch. One of the favorite meals of the day for Millennials and Generation Z. Fortunately for me, Philly is only a two hour trip away from one of the best cities for brunch: New York City. The hardest part is not trying to find a good place for brunch; the hardest part is choosing a place to start because there are way too many options. For me, making a decision is one of my biggest weaknesses, and my weekend in New York showed no exception. After some hours of indecision, my cousin and I decided to start our days off right with a brunch at Russ and Daughters Café.

There is no way you’ll miss this store. While all other stores are just opening shop, Russ and Daughters already has a line out the door. We thought we were going to beat the crowd, arriving 15 minutes after the restaurant opened. But, we were wrong. There was already a line that stretched outside the door. Shocked but excited, I put my name on the waiting list. As my stomach growled every five minutes, I asked myself constantly, is this one hour wait worth it?

Finally, the one hour wait came to an end. Walking in the restaurant felt like walking into a time machine. The retro-styled café shop radiated soda-shop vibes. The walls were lined with backlit signs proclaiming the presence of pickled herring, smoked whitefish, and gaspe nova in jars. I was quickly greeted by one of the white-jacketed staffs who cordially suggested the classic smoked salmon bagel served on a board. It’s a classic for a reason. The quintessential bagel sandwiched the famous smoked Gaspe Nova salmon. Now I understand what all the rave was about. In addition, we ordered some Eggs Benny. As I cut the Eggs Benny, the sunny side up egg melted on top of the rich and slightly sweet pillow-soft Challah. Although not one classics at the cafe, it’s still a must-try. After all, this a century old store, so they know what they are doing.

Was it worth the one hour wait? Heck yea it was!

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