Tag Archives: German

Douglaston Deli owner passing down legacy to son


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Matt Walters isn’t completely sure when he realized he wanted to own his father’s deli.

It could have been when he was 8 years old and cleaned out his parents’ kitchen cabinet so he could pretend to have his own store in the basement.

There was also a time, at one and a half years old, when his mother dressed him up for Halloween with a white shirt and black apron, like his dad’s deli uniform.

But one thing’s for certain, although he has two brothers, it was always decided that he would succeed his dad.

“There was never a question of who was going to take over either,” Matt said. “They knew I wanted to do it and they went their separate ways.”

He started working in the 42-year-old Douglaston Deli on Douglaston Parkway near Northern Boulevard 19 years ago, and will soon take it over from his dad, Richard, who plans to retire this year.

Matt has been learning how to operate the deli since he began his job there at 15 years old. Today the combo still works side by side at certain times of the day.

They don’t have defined roles, but the pair works in tandem to make sure customers receive their orders as soon as possible. With a certain quickness that comes with experience in the food industry, one takes orders, the other preps the food, which includes classic roast beef sandwiches and German style potato salad made fresh every day.

Photo courtesy Matt Walters 

While the neighborhood may have transformed in various ways since the deli opened, the store hasn’t changed much, and therefore holds a good relationship with the community. Matt plans to run the deli the same way as his dad.

“When people come in here they’re not a number,” Matt said. “We know them by first name and we’ve built up a lot of great relationships with customers around the area.”

Matt has no idea what’s in store for the next 42 years, but hopes the deli can stay in the family.

“I have a daughter that’s a year and a half old,” Matt said. “She might be the next owner of the deli.”

 

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Historic Rudy’s Pastry Shop celebrates grand reopening


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

For around 70 years, Rudy’s Pastry Shop in Ridgewood has displayed the German word “Konditorei” on its awning, which roughly translates to “pastry shop with a place to sit and eat.” But for much of those seven decades dining was difficult — Rudy’s only had room for a single table.

Now, with bakery owner Toni Binanti recently redesigning the famed bakery, expanding the shop to include a dining area and espresso bar, this is a problem no more.

The historic bakery celebrated its grand reopening on Saturday, March 10, drawing crowds of residents and politicians who came out to commemorate the Seneca Avenue pastry shop’s return — and to dine on some confectionaries.

Councilmembers Diana Reyna and Elizabeth Crowley, Assemblymember Mike Miller, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez and State Senator Joe Addabbo were in attendance. They, along with Binanti, eschewed the standard reopening ceremony for a more appetizing alternative.

“Everyone has a ribbon cutting, but not everyone has a pastry store like this,” said Paul Kerzner, president of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation.

Instead of yielding oversized scissors, officials dined on fresh, homemade apple turnovers to mark the bakery’s grand reopening.

A neighborhood mainstay since the 1940s, Rudy’s harkens to a time when the area was the heart of the city’s German community and featured Deutsch establishments Zum Stammtisch, Niederstein’s, Gebhardt’s, Von Westernhagen and Gottscheer Hall, among others. Only Rudy’s, Zum Stammtisch and Gottscheer Hall remain.

Planting its roots in the community for the better part of a century, the bakery has established personal connections with many of the area’s residents, including Miller, whose father worked as a baker at Rudy’s more than three decades ago.

“It was a big part of our community then, it still is now,” the assemblymember said. “We look forward to [it] being here forever.”

“When I celebrated my inauguration, I went to the greatest bakery in town,” said Crowley. “And that was Rudy’s Bakery.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was unable to attend, sent a letter of congratulations to Binanti who also received a city council citation from Reyna and a certificate of special congressional recognition from Velazquez.