NEW YORK - It may be a risk, but 25-year-old chef Edy Massih is taking it.
He's opening up a Lebanese deli in the middle of a pandemic; a deli which used to be a Polish mainstay.
What You Need To Know
- Edy Massih opened up a Lebanese deli in the middle of a pandemic
- The Greenpoint deli used to be a Polish mainstay
- Massih makes sure to keep some of that original Polish flair
"So I used to come in here literally every day, get my coffee and my turkey sandwich, on Fridays she would have her Friday special,” said Massih.
He's talking about Maria Puk, who owned the grocery in the largely Polish neighborhood before him for more than 40 years. They used to joke about him taking over when she retired.
This summer, as Massih's catering company struggled to stay in business, the joke turned into reality, and Massih makes sure to keep some of that original Polish flair.
"Having the Polish background here is really teaching me a lot, because Eastern European food is very different than Lebanese food, they used very different ingredients, and it's not as fresh but it's really cool to kind of learn both," Massih said.
Massih's days start early, but it's not a long commute. He lives on the same block as his store, something he loves.
"This neighborhood is super friendly and we have such a great community around here, so just being part of a community has been really special,” Massih said.
Massih's family immigrated to America in 2004, first to Boston so the kids could go to a good college, but Massih ended up moving to New York to attend culinary school.
He still has relatives in Lebanon, a country reeling following the deadly explosion in Beirut in early August. Fortunately Massih's family is safe.
The explosion though was a reminder to him of the importance of keeping his culture alive.
"Food of a culture is really bringing light to a culture," he said.
And it tastes, pretty darn good.