Russ & Daughters is an easy place to fetishize, but after 100 years and an estimated 1.8 million pounds of pickled herring, the store sure deserves it. Because Russ & Daughters does more than sell cured fish and anchor the Lower East Side's culinary history. As one commenter puts it in this trailer for the store's upcoming documentary Sturgeon Queens, "It feels like the kind of Judaism that I know." This is the Yiddishe gospel in action.
2014 marks a big year for the fourth-generation family business: a full-service restaurant, a centennial anniversary, and now a film to document its history. The trailer below gives a peek of the faces behind the counter—old and new—and what the Houston Street store has meant to all who've come through its doors. Among the anecdotes from the old days? Patriarch Russ kicking out troublesome customers: "Leave and forget the address."
The 45-minute documentary will come out later this year. Keep an eye on its IMDB page for more in the months ahead.