American Foodways: The Jewish Contribution
One cannot talk about Jewish food in America without recognizing the (New York) institutions that formed the foundation for America's Jewish dining experiences. For every restaurant, deli, appetizing shop, and restaurant mentioned here, many more should be named. But as a representative of this experience, we hope these are sufficient to instill in you the history and value of early Jewish eateries.
The New York deli—made famous through Hollywood, tourists, and (former) New Yorkers—is one of the most important contributions attributed to Jews that has resonated in American foodways. For many, a trip to New York is incomplete without a stop at one of these venerable spots: 2nd Ave Deli, Katz's, Stage Deli (closed in 2012), and the Carnegie Deli.
Similarly, the appetizing shop, often confused as a delicatessen, is in a category all its own. Different varieties of smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, and other preserves are the purview of these kings of New York: Russ and Daughters, Barney Greengrass, Zabars, and Shelsky's.
In the mid-twentieth century, a handful of entrepreneurs began opening and marketing kosher resort hotels in the Catskills to Northeastern Jews to escape the city. Even though most of the resorts and bungalow colonies are no longer existent, their legacy, in form of Borscht Belt and other comedians, of Jewish resorts, and of annual exoduses from the city, still survives. Some of the most notable resorts were the Concord, Kutsher's, and Grossingers.