A question was posed in a Facebook group; “If you could choose a place in Brooklyn to eat today, where would you go and what would you have there…
My answer was, Lou’s Deli on Kings highway between East 2nd and East 3rd. It would begin with a Kreplach soup and then a steak sandwich, steak sauce on the side. Washed down with a Diet Dr Browns Black Cherry.
My father would be there speaking with Lou about some political issue or another. Then he would look at me and tell Lou, “Whatever he wants, put it on my tab!” I would walk towards him and give my dad a kiss, “Thank you.”
Sam Kizelnik would be there too, from Decorative Dinette next door. He would be calling my father, Hacham and all three would share a laugh.
Buddy would be taking the orders with his yellow jacket on and his white hair brushed back. Lee would also be behind the counter and he would slice a corned beef and give me a slice to taste.
Zakie from Settons would stop in and get a Hot Dog and the lunch crowd from Sephardic High School would storm in.
An order of Gravy and bread was one of the popular ones there.
My friends and I would all sit at one table and make noise while laughing the whole time. I would usually walk next door to Whiz Travel to say hello to my mother and get her smile and a kiss. She would always stop what she was doing and smile a beautiful smile.
It would be a Sunday afternoon because we had just played a matinee for the Senior Citizens at the center. “Guys and Dolls” where Adelaide, played that day by Victoria Toussie, would sneeze because the song was “Adelaide’s Lament” and it called for the actress to “Develop a cold…” Each time she would sneeze an older lady in the front row would answer, “Ta-eesh, God bless you.” After her fourth sneeze the older lady said, “Hazeeta get her a sweater she is getting sick.” We all walked to Lou’s for lunch, a cast of 30 and we entered the place like rock stars. The older lady was there and she was so worried for Vicky she kept telling her to drink soup.
Sunday evenings the place was mobbed – it was standing room only and everyone knew each other. Looking back I remember one kid brought a first date there. Big mistake. The whole community was convinced he was getting engaged.          He was 17 and she was 16.
There was the Egg Roll; freshly fried in and crispy hot. The corned beef, pastrami, turkey and the chicken salad…
The neon soup, kreplach or matzo ball – the stuffed derma and the gravy.
Sliced hot dog on club or hot dog with coleslaw or sauerkraut and mustard.
But it was the people who made the place what it was.
Louie ran the place with a magnifying glass in his hand – so clean you could eat off the floor in the basement. He knew everyone’s name – “Hey Zalta, Chera, Kredi, Kassab, Sasson or Garda.” He knew everyone and he treated us all the same way – rough. Then Ruthy would step in and smile. They were together behind the counter and would make the line move along quickly.
Even though it was Sunday, Angelo the mailman would be there and would trade jokes with Vinnie the UPS man. Sol from Sol’s Hardware would be riding his bicycle and stop to say hello to Mr. Mansoura who stood outside with his apron on. The Metropolitan Insurance office would be on the corner across the street from Carvel Ice Cream; The Photographer store was next door and then there was Whiz Travel; the only store left on that side of Kings Highway – same sign since 1976 as well.
Lou’s Deli – Ruthy and Lou and their children. It was so many years ago and it still brings a smile to my face and a growling noise in my stomach.